A Pennsylvania man, who is allegedly responsible for the overdose deaths of 19 people, was officially charged by federal prosecutors.
Jeremy Achey, 43, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was charged on July 20 with conspiracy and distribution of controlled substance analogs. If he is found guilty in court, he could face a lifetime sentence in prison. According to federal prosecutors, the defendant was responsible for 19 overdose-related deaths, including one man in Orange County who died after taking the synthetic opioid substance tetrahydrofuran fentanyl. The DEA’s investigation on the case revealed that the man bought the drug from the Etiking vendor shop, a pseudo name, which Achey allegedly used for narcotics trading.
“Florida DEA agents continue investigating this overdose death attributable to the substance delivered by the defendant, and an additional 19 overdose deaths that occurred in the 2017 calendar year,” Judge Perkins wrote regarding the connection between the overdose deaths and Achey. “The people who died of overdose deaths were all “Darknet” customers of the defendant,” the judge emphasized.
Law enforcement authorities arrested the defendant at the end of June. A fiancé, who overdosed on tetrahydrofuran fentanyl with his partner – with him surviving and the 24-year-old woman dying –, provided a lead for officers in the investigation. The man told DEA agents that they had purchased six packages from Etiking and provided law enforcement with his login information to AlphaBay. With this information, agents were able to confirm the orders of the couple along with some insight in their messaging.
After the tragic overdose of the couple, the fiancé sent a message on AlphaBay to Etiking asking the vendor to raise the price of the drug and put warnings in his advertisement on the dark web marketplace. When law enforcement had access to the man’s account, they told Achey that the fiancé had withdrawals and needed a fix. Despite the fact that the narcotics dealer wrote back, the attempt for an undercover purchase was unsuccessful.
Achey allegedly used the services of Shippo and Peppership for stamps and postage of the drug packages. Both of the companies offer a service where users can create and print shipping labels and return addresses. Peppership allows payments in bitcoins, which the defendant could pay with the BTC he acquired in his alleged drug trade. A confidential informant provided information on the bitcoin wallets of Achey, which helped investigators to identify the suspect. Federal agents requested information from Coinbase, providing the cryptocurrency exchange the suspicious bitcoin wallet. After law enforcement authorities received the data, they were able to determine that Achey was the one who used the bitcoin wallet. In addition to his real name, on one of his accounts, the defendant signed up with his personal address in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Furthermore, the suspect listed one of the email addresses he used to purchase postage on the drug packages at Shippo and Peppership.
In late June, DEA agents closely surveilled both Achey, his wife, and their house. After investigators witnessed the defendant regularly taking packages to the post office, they requested the examination of one of the parcels from a USPIS inspector. The inspector confirmed that the package contained drugs, which he photographed and prepared for delivery to a DEA agent in Florida.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kishan Nair stated that, after his arrest, Achey admitted to the officers he sold synthetic opiates and analogs of controlled substances, such as LSD and ecstasy, through a darknet marketplace for the period of five to seven years.
“He continued to distribute these substances and analogs across the United States even after he knows someone has died after consuming them,” Mr. Nair said in a statement.