Darknet Vendor and Pharmacist Plead Guilty to Firebomb Attack Plot
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Maryland Darknet vendor and a Nebraska pharmacist pleaded guilty today to charges related to a conspiracy to use explosives to firebomb and destroy a competitor pharmacy.
According to court documents, from August 2019 through April 2020, Hyrum T. Wilson, 41, of Auburn, Nebraska, illegally mailed over 19,000 dosage units of prescription medications, including opioids, from his pharmacy in Nebraska to the Maryland residence of co-conspirator William Anderson Burgamy IV, 32, of Hanover. Burgamy illegally sold prescription drugs through his Darknet vendor account to customers nationwide, including here in the Eastern District of Virginia, and claimed at one point that he made nearly $1 million total. Burgamy and Wilson laundered the proceeds of their scheme using Bitcoin cryptocurrency payments, wire transfers, and bundles of cash sent through the mail.
“Burgamy and Wilson carefully plotted a violent attack operation involving explosives, firearms, the Darknet, prescription opioid trafficking, cryptocurrency, and sophisticated money laundering,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Those potentially deadly plans were successfully thwarted during the early stages of the pandemic. This case highlights elements of EDVA’s national security, narcotics, cyber, financial, and violent crime work, all of which can only be performed with the tenacity and skilled investigative efforts demonstrated by our law enforcement partners.”
Given the profitability of the Darknet scheme, Wilson repeatedly hit limits, set by his distributor, on the amount of prescription drugs that he could obtain and provide to Burgamy. Consequently, Burgamy and Wilson developed an attack plot known as “Operation Firewood” to break into, steal the opiate supply of, and firebomb a competing pharmacy located in Auburn by using explosives. The goal of the attack plot was to destroy Wilson’s local competition, which Burgamy and Wilson believed would increase the volume of prescription drugs that Wilson’s pharmacy could obtain, thereby allowing Burgamy and Wilson’s drug trafficking operation to continue and expand.
“This investigation, conducted by the Hi-Tech Opioid Task Force and our partners, demonstrates the dedication and expertise of law enforcement to disrupt and dismantle violent attacks and illegal drug trafficking,” said James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office's Criminal Division. “Burgamy and Wilson put thousands of illegal opioids in the hands of people across the country and their brazen and violent plot could have had deadly consequences. The selling of illicit drugs on the Darknet will not be tolerated. No matter where these criminals try to hide, the FBI will work to bring them to justice and protect our communities.”
According to court documents, Burgamy told Wilson that he would never surrender to law enforcement, that if anyone showed up during the attack, he would “blast [his] [expletive] way out,” and that he would shoot bullets at anyone who attempted to confront or apprehend him, including the owner of the victim pharmacy. Prior to Burgamy’s arrest in April 2020, which uncovered and thwarted the firebombing plot, Burgamy and Wilson fully intended on the attack occurring after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
“The opioid epidemic that has resulted in overdoses and deaths is a national public health crisis,” said Mark S. McCormack, Special Agent in Charge of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, Metro Washington Field Office. “Criminals who contribute to that crisis through their illegal actions such as illicit opioid distribution, whether online, on the Darknet, or through conventional drug distribution methods, will be brought to justice. The FDA is fully committed to dismantling illegal prescription drug distribution networks that misuse the internet at the expense of public health and safety.”
Wilson created a “getaway” map and escape routes for Burgamy to use to help him evade law enforcement detection after the firebombing. Wilson instructed Burgamy to make the firebombing appear as though it was committed by a fictitious “pissed off husband” who learned about a fabricated affair involving the husband’s wife and a pharmacist from the victim pharmacy.
Burgamy assured Wilson that if anything happened to him, he would take care of Wilson’s “family and bills,” and Wilson agreed to safeguard Burgamy’s life insurance information in the event Burgamy was killed during the attack. Burgamy and Wilson also agreed that Burgamy and another individual would carry multiple firearms during the attack and use explosives, specifically Molotov cocktails enhanced with Styrofoam as a thickening agent, to burn the victim pharmacy down. Law enforcement located eight unsecured fully loaded firearms in Burgamy’s residence, including AR-15 assault rifles and numerous high capacity magazines.
Burgamy and Wilson each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use explosives, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and money laundering. Burgamy, who also pleaded guilty to a firearms offense, and Wilson both face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count when sentenced on November 20. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office Criminal Division; Peter R. Rendina, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Mark S. McCormack, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, Metro Washington Field Office; and Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the DEA’s Washington Field Division, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III accepted the pleas. Assistant U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:20-cr-150 and Case No. 1:20-cr-151.