Fri 23 Jul 2004
WASHINGTON, DC – DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy today announced the culmination of “Operation Web Tryp” that resulted in ten arrests and targeted five websites. Operation Web Tryp investigated Internet websites distributing highly dangerous designer drug analogues under the guise of “research chemicals” primarily shipped to the U.S. from China and India. These websites are known to have thousands of customers worldwide. One website operator is known to conduct estimated sales of $20,000 per week, while another is known to have been in business for more than five years. These websites sold substances that led to the fatal overdose of at least two individuals and 14 non-fatal overdoses.
“The Internet has become the street corner for many drug users and traffickers. Drug pushers who use the Internet will find themselves out of business and behind bars,” Administrator Tandy said. ‘These dealers now enter into the privacy of our own homes to entice and sell destruction to our children veiled under the illusion of being safe and legal. The formulation of analogues is like a drug dealer’s magic trick meant to fool law enforcement. They didn’t fool us and we must educate our children so they are not fooled either. Today’s action will help prevent future deaths and overdoses, and will serve as notice for those dealing in designer drugs and the illegal use of the Internet.”
This operation resulted in the following website operators arrests on July 21, 2004:
* WWW.RACRESEARCH.COM and WWW.DUNCANLABPRODUCTS.COM
April Curtis and Doug Thompson, website operators of WWW.RACRESEARCH.COM, were arrested yesterday, July 21, in Arizona and Georgia, respectively. The arrests are based on charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substance analogues out of the Southern District of New York. WWW.RACRESEARCH.COM has so far been linked to non-fatal overdoses of two college students. This investigation by DEA New York and the New York Police Department also uncovered the illegal distribution of designer drugs on WWW.DUNCANLABPRODUCTS.COM . This site was operated by Raymond Duncan and supplied by April Curtis. Duncan was arrested yesterday, July 21, in California based on charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substance analogues. Both websites were voluntarily terminated.
David Linder, website operator of WWW.PONDMAN.NU was arrested yesterday. This investigation was conducted by DEA and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in Norfolk, VA. The above site, which purportedly sold landscape supplies, also sold designer drugs. Linder supplied these drugs to U.S.-based Navy personnel who later held rave-style parties to facilitate further distribution. To date, an overdose death of an 18-year-old male and three non-fatal overdoses causing serious bodily injuries have been linked to WWW.PONDMAN.NU. Linder is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substance analogues out of the Eastern District of Virginia. This website will be voluntarily terminated.
DEA Baton Rouge, LA initiated this investigation that resulted in yesterday’s arrest of Michael Burton, operator of WWW.AMERICANCHEMICALSUPPLY.COM. Charges against Burton and an unidentified coconspirator include illegal distribution with enhanced penalties for causing death, aiding and abetting, and forfeiture out of the Middle District of Louisiana. A restraining order will be issued to prevent use of this website.
DEA San Diego yesterday arrested Thomas Kasper, Joseph Kasper, Beth Badrak, and Elaine Villalobos, all California residents, on conspiracy charges to distribute controlled substance analogues, distribution of controlled substance analogues to individuals under the age of 21, and money laundering out of the Southern District of California. These four operated WWW.OMEGAFINECHEMICALS.COM. In addition to the arrests, DEA used warrants to search the Omega Business address, and the residence of Beth Badrak and Tom Kasper in Santa Barbara, CA. A seizure warrant will be served on the Omega website. Two bank accounts were also seized.
BACKGROUND ON DESIGNER DRUGS FROM OPERATION WEB TRYP
The products sold by the above mentioned websites are synthetic substances chemically identified as tryptamines, piperazines, and phenylethylamines. Some of these substances are specifically restricted under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) while others, when intended for human consumption, are controlled under the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act (CSAEA). Prior to the CSAEA, chemists would cause slight changes in the molecular structure of a controlled substance to circumvent the CSA. The CSAEA was enacted to arm law enforcement with the tools needed to stay one step ahead of the drug dealers’ innovations. On the street and in Internet chat rooms these substances go by innocuous names such as “Foxy Methoxy” and “DIPT.” Many young people are led to believe that these substances are a form of “legal” Ecstasy or LSD because they produce similar hallucinogenic effects. Adolescents and young adults are primary abusers of these chemicals. Many have the false impression that they are not as harmful or addictive as mainstream drugs such as heroin or cocaine. This is a highly dangerous emerging drug trend. Because the recommended dosages can vary by as little as a milligram, any slight miscalculation can cause fatal results.
In April 2002, an 18-year-old male in Hancock, New York died after consuming a chemical obtained from WWW.PONDMAN.NU. A 19-year-old male friend of the decedent later confirmed using similar chemicals obtained from WWW.PONDMAN.NU that resulted in him suffering from seizures, floating spots in his vision, memory lapses, uncontrollable teeth grinding and large lumps that would appear and disappear periodically on his face and neck.
In December 2003, police responded to a call of a college student found unconscious, unresponsive and turning blue on the kitchen floor of a residence in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. He had been lying on the floor for 45 minutes before a call for help was made. This student was suffering from the ingestion of a substance he obtained from WWW.RACRESEARCH.COM. This overdose victim now suffers from chronic, violent seizures.
In March 2004, a 22-year-old male resident of St. Francisville, Louisiana died after ingesting a substance he believed to be similar to Ecstasy. When found by his mother he asked to be driven to the hospital where he died three days later. His body temperature had reached an astounding 108 degrees. It was later found that the substance used was sent from WWW.AMERICANCHEMICALSUPPLY.COM, one of the targeted websites in this investigation.
These website operators attempted to give an appearance of legitimacy to their websites by presumably selling these chemicals to bona fide researchers; however, a review of customer lists revealed purchasers with e-mail addresses such as acidtripo420@; ecstasylight@; madtriper17@; moontripperdipt@; partys_with_glow_sticks@; professor@; psychedelic_stoner@; and ravergirlny@.
SPECIAL THANKS AND RECOGNITION
These enforcement actions demonstrate the DEA’s steadfast commitment to identifying and preventing any illegal drug distribution through the use of the Internet. The success of this operation could not have taken place without the cooperation and coordination of the following:
DEA and US Attorney’s Office, Albuquerque, NM
DEA and US Attorney’s Office, Baton Rouge, LA
DEA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Ward County Narcotics Task Force, North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations, and US Attorney’s Office, North Dakota
Food and Drug Administration and US Postal Inspection Service, Minnesota
DEA, New York Police Department and US Attorney’s Office, New York, NY
DEA, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and US Attorney’s Office, Norfolk, VA
DEA, Food and Drug Administration, US Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service, and US Attorney’s Office, San Diego, CA
Federal Bureau of Investigation, Santa Maria, CA
US Forestry Service and Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Barbara, CA
DEA, Las Vegas, NV
DEA, Riverside, CA
DEA, Phoenix, AZ
DEA, Macon, GA