A former AlphaBay vendor has been hit by a court sentence that would see him spend the rest of his life in prison.The Bethlehem man was reportedly convicted for distributing a monumental amount of packages containing synthetic drugs.[/caption]
The Bethlehem man was reportedly convicted for distributing a monumental amount of packages containing synthetic drugs.
Jeremy Achey was implicated in a fentanyl drug overdose case involving his 24-year old client.
He is said to have sold a synthetic analogue of fentanyl to the woman who met her death following consumption of the deadly substance.
The sentence came after a Federal jury in the State of Florida convicted the dark web drug vendor at the end of January 2018.
He was accused of running a darknet drug distribution network using the pseudonym “Etiking.”
Interestingly, Achey had established himself as one of the most successful dark web drug dealers. He operated through AlphaBay, a seasoned darknet marketplace that had thrived on the sale of illicit goods and services.
Darknet Markets and Tor
Essentially, darknet markets are usually accessed through The Onion Router (Tor), a free-to-download encryption mechanism that keeps the dark web afloat.
The complaint levelled against Achey indicated that the encryption tool serves to hide users’ identities and their digital tracks from law enforcement agencies.
It was revealed that Tor, created in the 90s by the U.S Naval Research Laboratory, was used by Achey to conduct his dark web activities.
The tool was originally intended to serve the purpose of protecting covert communications by intelligence agencies.
The criminal complaint highlighted the fact that this system is currently being applied by online crime syndicates to perpetrate dark web crimes from drug sales to fraud.
Furthermore, the complaint implicated Bitcoin as the choice currency that is used by the darknet market community to launder proceeds.
Adolphus Wright, a special agent in charge of Miami’s drug enforcement, commented on the matter by warning the proponents of the dark web from thinking that they may seek refuge in the hidden web while orchestrating drug crimes.
In the same breath, he promised a heavy price for those individuals that would be caught distributing narcotics through the online platforms.
Achey was the last individual to operate Etiking, an AlphaBay vendor account. Achey bought the account from a person that would turn out to be an informer for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
It is reported that Achey had purchased the account along with a significant amount of furanylfentanyl, one of the most popular illicit substances traded on the dark web. The activities of the informer led the DEA agents to locate and arrest Achey in June 2017.
Arrested man in handcuffs.
His eventual arrest was followed by a Pennsylvania court order to extradite Achey to face trial in the State of Florida.His eventual arrest was followed by a Pennsylvania court order to extradite Achey to face trial in the State of Florida.[/caption]
The arrest was the product of careful surveillance by the agents who are reported to have trailed Achey’s freight packages.
His eventual arrest was followed by a Pennsylvania court order to extradite Achey to face trial in the State of Florida.
Arguably, it can be deduced that Achey was a highly elusive individual that operated under the police radar. It wasn’t until the aforementioned client’s drug overdose case that Etiking’s exploits became fully exposed.
Criminal Complaint Against Achey
As reported, the 24-year-old Florida woman had purchased the dangerous drugs from Etiking via AlphaBay. The woman’s spouse had also consumed the drugs, but did not overdose. This incident lifted the lid on Etiking’s criminal life.
The victim’s spouse cooperated with police in the prosecution case against the established AlphaBay drug dealer.
The prosecution team claimed that Etiking’s drug sales had directly caused about 20 lives in drug overdose cases due to the fact that Etiking dealt in a very lethal range of drugs traded on the darknet market.
Specifically, his business facilitated the sale of research chemicals that included furanylfentanyl, tetrahydrofuran fentanyl, and etizolam.
In an interesting twist, the 2017 criminal complaint filed against Achey highlighted some complications in the case.
The document acknowledged the drug tetrahydrofuran fentanyl as a synthetic opiate that had not been scheduled. At that stage, it was not possible to ascertain whether the synthetic opiate was classified as a controlled substance or not.
Nevertheless, the prosecution lodged an argument that described the drug as an analogue of the Schedule II drug fentanyl. The Achey case took a historic turn owing to the fact that this specific fentanyl analogue was directed to be subject to the Federal Analogue Act of 1986.
According to this Act, unscheduled drugs subject to the Controlled Substances Act are regarded as scheduled if they are traded for human or animal use and are found to be structurally similar to a substance categorized in Schedule I or II of the same Act.
In this aspect, the police were successful in using the spouse of the deceased Florida woman to prove that the vendor was well-aware that the drugs were being purchased for human use.
This vindication was achieved when the spouse communicated with Etiking through messages regarding drug sales.
In fact, it was shown that Etiking went the extra mile to advise his clients on the appropriate ways of administering the fentanyl analogues to their body systems.
Nonetheless, the prosecution team did not press charges against Achey for dealing in etizolam, which was among the substances that led to the death of the Florida woman.
Instead, Achey found himself in deep trouble over the 4-ACO-DMT drug that he had unknowingly sent to law enforcement agents who had bought the substance over AlphaBay. 4-ACO-DMT is an analogue of DMT and psilocin, which are classified as Schedule I drugs.
Achey’s sentence was iconic and highlighted the dire consequences that are faced by dark web drug dealers.
It was also filled with several intrigues that proved just how darknet drug crimes have developed over the years and destroyed lives through the opioid crisis.
The severity of his sentence goes a long way to underscore the government’s commitment to fighting the drug trade.