Two Canadian men indicted for selling carfentanil, fentanyl and heroin over the Internet and shipping the drugs to Europe, Canada and the U.S., including Ohio
Two Canadian men were indicted for their roles in a conspiracy to sell carfentanil, fentanyl, heroin and other drugs over the Internet and ship the drugs to locations in Europe, Canada and the United States, including Northern Ohio.
Named in the 10-count indictment are Robert Mitrache, 34, of Chateauguay, and Louis-Vincent Bourcier, 30, of Mercier. They are charged with conspiracy to import controlled substances, distribution of furanyl fentanyl, distribution of heroin and methamphetamine, and other charges.
According to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Cleveland:
Mitrache and Bourcier were among the people who controlled the Pharmaphil vendor account that operated on dark net marketplaces such as AlphaBay, Dream Market, the Majestic Garden and other marketplaces.
The Pharmaphil account served as an online storefront that trafficked narcotics such as fentanyl, carfentanil, heroin and methamphetamine to locations in Canada, the United States, Germany, Austria and other countries. The organization had more than 1,500 confirmed sales across multiple dark net marketplaces, according to the indictment.
Mitrache, Bourcier and others used various methods designed to protect the anonymity of buyers and sellers from law enforcement and other organizations. These methods included internally hosted message boards, using encrypted messaging applications, and proxies, which bounced network traffic from one computer to another.
Members of the conspiracy laundered its drug profits through a variety of means, including maintaining and using digital currency such as bitcoin, according to the indictment.
The conspiracy took placed between at least May 2015 through December 16, 2017, according to the indictment.
Both defendants are currently incarcerated in Canada.
“This case is a stark reminder of the way deadly narcotics are bought and sold has changed dramatically,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said. “Law enforcement has adapted too and are working to arrest and prosecute those who sell opioids and other drugs over the Internet.”
“The charges against these defendants should make it abundantly clear that those who distribute deadly drugs via the Dark Net are not out of reach of law enforcement,” said Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis. “HSI is committed to targeting the unlawful sale of opioids, following the money trails and leveraging our international and local partnerships to dismantle drug smuggling rings and stop this opioid crisis from spreading any further.”
“Battling the distribution of synthetic opioids in the U.S. is one of the Postal Inspection Service’s highest priorities,” said U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Inspector in Charge Tommy Coke. “The indictment proves postal inspectors and their law enforcement partners remain steadfast in dismantling dark net vendors of illicit and dangerous items. This should serve as an example to criminal groups using the dark net that we are unwavering in our mission to identify and disrupt their illegal activity.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith said: "These two defendants believed that by utilizing the dark web and sophisticated cyber techniques their dangerous, world wide drug dealing would go undetected by law enforcement - they were wrong. Collaborative law enforcement techniques identified these two and now they will be held accountable for selling and distributing deadly controlled substances."
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations as part of “Operation Darkness Falls,” a joint operation targeting people and organizations that sell fentanyl and other drugs over the dark net. Also involved in this investigation were the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, the Justice Department’s Special Operations Division and federal law enforcement in the District of Arizona. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Cronin and Daniel Riedl.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. The OCDETF Program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking, money laundering and violent criminal organizations operating domestically and internationally. The principle mission of the OCDETF Program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, money laundering and violent criminal organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.
If convicted, the defendants’ sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal record, if any, the defendants’ role in the offenses and the characteristics of the violations. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.