According to Alabama’s Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force, an Alabaster county veterinarian and his Pelham country accomplice ordered 18 grams of fentanyl from the darknet. Customs intercepted a suspicious package at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The package contained a child’s toy—a stuffed bear—that contained enough fentanyl to eliminate a small city.
The Task Force Commander Lt. Clay Hammac explained that after Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) finished their part of the job, HSI called the Task Force and notified them of the fentanyl interception. The Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force and United States Postal Inspection Service identified the recipient after HSI gave the inspectors the address on the package. Through means unknown, the Task Force learned that David Wallace, a 46 year old veterinarian from Alabaster county, had purchased fentanyl on the darknet. And Hammac said that Wallace used Bitcoin.
“It was purchased off the dark web,” Lt. Hammac said. He explained that packages like the fentanyl intercepted by HSI often ship from places like China, “marked as assorted clothes or anything else like that.” Hammac often speaks about the so-called dangers of drugs. He said that this burst was “a huge one for the good guys.” The Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Narcotics Task Force have explained that 18 grams of fentanyl could kill 36,000 people. Fentanyl has an unknown LD50 in humans.
Lt. Paul Hayes, commander of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Narcotics Task Force, said that the seizure and arrest were “an excellent illustration of multiple agencies working together to safeguard our communities from this deadly drug.” As with the majority of darknet arrests in the US, this case involved authorities from Customs (ICE-HSI JFK), the United States Postal Inspection Service, and local authorities. Basically the set of law enforcement agencies credited for darknet arrests in every other Department of Justice press release. For lengthier investigations, add the FBI or DEA.
The officials who spoke with the press about the bust shared very little operational information. The package likely came from a location that triggered “high risk” warnings and everything after the package interception fell into place. Alabama authorities did not even detail the arrest itself; usually an officer makes, at the very least, a brief comment about conducting a controlled delivery prior to the arrest. Not this time, though. Likely because the fentanyl never entered Alabama—or at least not in a package the way the suspects would have expected.
On Monday, January 22, Alabama law enforcement arrested David Wallace and his alleged co-conspirator, 33-year-old Dana Marie Leslie. Authorities charged both suspects with conspiracy to commit a controlled substance crime. They are being held without bond at Shelby County jail.