JUL 23 -- KAREN P. TANDY, Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, ANTHONY PLACIDO, the Special Agent in Charge of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration in New York, and DAVID N. KELLEY, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the arrests of three individuals Wednesday pursuant to warrants from the Southern District of New York in a nationwide crackdown on Internet merchants of designer drugs. A total of ten defendants across the country were arrested Wednesday as part of the DEA’s “Operation Web Tryp.” The three defendants arrested pursuant to the Southern District of New York’s criminal complaint were: APRIL CURTIS, 45,arrested at her home in Carefree, Arizona; DOUG THOMPSON, 32, arrested outside his home in Valdosta, Georgia; and RAYMOND DUNCAN,22, arrested in Southern California. These three defendants were charged in a criminal complaint with conspiring with each other and others to violate the narcotics laws of the United States.
Ms. TANDY stated: “Drug pushers who use the Internet should have great concern because they will find themselves out of business and behind bars.” According to the Complaint, the defendants operated Internet businesses that distributed designer drugs under the guise of “research chemicals.” From at least in or about May 2002 through the present, CURTIS operated an Internet website (the “RAC Research Website”) from which she sold chemical substances substantially similar in chemical composition and effect on the central nervous system to tryptamine-based controlled substances. The Complaint alleges that the RAC Research website offered the following four controlled-substance analogues for sale: (a) methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT); (b) 5-methoxy-alphamethyltryptamine hydrochloride (5-MeO-AMT); (c) 5-methoxy-N,N-diisopropyltryptamine (5-MeO-DiPT); and (d) 4-acetoxy-N,N-Diisopropyltryptamine (4-AcO-DiPT). DOUG THOMPSON participated in the business of the RAC Research Website by shipping orders to customers across the country.
According to the Complaint, from in or about May 2002 through in or about September 2003, the RAC Research Website collected a total of approximately $567,765 in revenue. Until recently, CURTIS conducted business affairs relating to the RAC Research Website from her home in the Bronx, New York.
The Complaint alleges that numerous e-mails between CURTIS and THOMPSON detailed their efforts to use the RAC Research Website to distribute designer drugs for human consumption. For example, the Complaint alleges that THOMPSON sent CURTIS an e-mail on or about September 8, 2003, in which he stated that “I joined a tryptamine discussion group on Yahoo. I joined under a different name and will try to drum up some business for us in the chat rooms.” According to the Complaint, CURTIS responded to THOMPSON’s message later that same day by stating, among other things, “That’s great about the tryptamine group, that’s how I learned what new compounds to get so keep your ears open as to what people want.”
The Complaint sets forth additional evidence of CURTIS and THOMPSON’s use of the RAC Research Website to distribute controlled substance analogues for human consumption. CURTIS allegedly corresponded with some of her customers about their ingestion of controlled substance analogues purchased on the RAC Research Website. According to the Complaint, on or about October 12, 2003, a Canadian customer told CURTIS in an e-mail: “5-MeO DMT was the first thing i tried from RAC. i had a number of good experiences, particularly when i would STACK the dosages. a couple of +++ experiences i guess. but no ++++’s! hee hee. i have a suspicion that the 5-MeO in our brains is released if we are near-death. maybe part of dreaming, too, perhaps.” CURTIS responded on or about that same day: “Glad that you had a great night last night but what kind of enlightenment did you have? You have picqued my curiosity.”
Finally, the Complaint details two occasions on which CURTIS sold controlled substance analogues to undercover DEA agents. In the second sale, on or about February 3, 2004, CURTIS volunteered to deliver the chemicals directly to the undercover DEA agent in Manhattan because she said that she enjoyed driving her BMW from the Bronx. At that meeting, the undercover officer told CURTIS that his friends loved “this stuff” in the clubs and couldn’t get enough. CURTIS suggested that the undercover officer try another controlled substance analogue that was a huge seller in Europe and loved in the clubs.
The Complaint alleges further that CURTIS supplied designer drugs to customers of RAYMOND DUNCAN’s Internet website (the “Duncan Lab Website”). According to the Complaint, DUNCAN operated the Duncan Lab Website from at least in or about January 2003 through in or about early July 2004. Like the RAC Research Website, the Duncan Lab Website purported to sell chemical substances for scientific research.
The Complaint alleges that e-mails between CURTIS and DUNCAN demonstrate their efforts to distribute designer drugs to customers. For instance, on or about April 18, 2003, DUNCAN wrote to CURTIS: ”April, I have received an order for a half gram of MeO-AMT. Please send it to: [Ohio customer’s name, address, and phone number provided by DUNCAN.] Thanks, I will update our tab with the new information and send it to you. Ray.” In another example, CURTIS wrote to DUNCAN on or about October 3, 2003: “I have [a controlled substance analogue] now and can get anything we need or want. . . . [L]et’s make some money together. The more you make the more I make.” If convicted of these charges, each defendant will be subject to a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment, a maximum fine of the greatest of $1,000,000 or twice the gross gain/loss resulting from the offenses, and a maximum term of lifetime supervised release.
APRIL CURTIS appeared yesterday before United States Magistrate Judge LAWRENCE O. ANDERSON in federal court in Phoenix, Arizona. DOUG THOMPSON appeared Wednesday before United States Magistrate Judge RICHARD L. HODGE in federal court in Albany, Georgia. He made bail yesterday in Valdosta, Georgia. RAYMOND DUNCAN appeared Wednesday before United States Magistrate Judge STEPHEN G. LARSON in federal court in Riverside, California. He was detained without bail. All three defendants are due to appear before a magistrate judge in federal court in Manhattan in the coming weeks.