Authorities in New York on Tuesday announced charges against three individuals accused of using the dark web to sell fake Xanax, among other substances, and laundering millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.
Law enforcement started looking into the alleged crime following reported “suspicious activity” taking place at ATMs in New York and New Jersey, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance said in a news release.
The investigation led to the indictment of Chester Anderson, 44, Jarrette Codd, 41, and Ronald Maccarty, 51, in connection to the operation of “storefronts on the dark web that sold and shipped hundreds of thousands of counterfeit Xanax tablets and other controlled substances to buyers in 43 states, and laundering $2.3 million in cryptocurrency by using preloaded debit cards and withdrawing cash at ATMs in Manhattan and New Jersey,” according to the DA’s office.
Authorities carried out undercover purchases during the investigation and the case yielded a record pill-seizure in New Jersey after the suspects’ properties and vehicles were searched, the news release said.
Included in the seizure were alprazolam tablets, fentanyl-laced heroin, meth, ketamine and gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), among other items, officials said.
“When our office received reports of suspicious activity at ATMs in New York and New Jersey, our talented investigators followed the money, using our state-of-the-art Cyber Lab to uncover a dark web counterfeit pill seller whose $2.3 million operation spanned the U.S.,” Vance said. “Not only is this the first time state prosecutors in New York have taken down a dark web storefront, this takedown represents the largest pill seizure in New Jersey’s history.”
All three suspects were charged in a New York court with conspiracy and money laundering, the news release said. Anderson was also charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance and identity theft, officials said.
“The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office is handling the prosecution of the items seized in New Jersey,” according to the news release.