Two Individuals Charged In Synthetic Opioid Drug Conspiracy Following Overdose Death
NEWARK, N.J. – A man from New York and a woman from New Jersey were arrested this morning for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute dangerous designer drugs, including a synthetic opioid that is several times more potent than morphine, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
Brian Parker, 34, of Long Island City, New York, and Victoria Koleski, 29, of Farmingdale, New Jersey, are charged by criminal complaint with conspiring to distribute controlled substance analogues, and distributing and possessing with intent to distribute the controlled substance analogues U-47700, A-PHP, and 3-MEO-PCP. The defendants are scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson in Newark federal court.
According to the complaint:
Controlled substance analogues are designer drugs that have chemical structures and hallucinogenic effects similar to Schedule I controlled substances. Parker, who has two prior convictions for federal narcotics-related crimes, allegedly manufactured and distributed controlled substance analogues and other illegal chemicals through two internet-based companies he controlled. The substances sold by Parker were linked to an overdose death which occurred in May 2016.
On May 22, 2016, law enforcement officers were dispatched to a residence in Madison, Wisconsin, in response to a report of a 37-year-old man who had stopped breathing. The victim was dead by the time officers arrived at his residence. An autopsy later confirmed that the victim’s death was caused by acute intoxication due to the combined effects of a substance called U-47700 and Benzodiazepine Analogue (Etizolam).
U-47700 is a synthetic opioid that is several times more potent than morphine. Law enforcement officers recovered several mail parcels that were addressed to the victim, one or more of which contained full glass vials labeled “U-47700,” as well as multiple invoices indicating the victim had been ordering U-47700 and other substances from a website run by Parker.
After learning of the victim's overdose, law enforcement agents began investigating one of Parker’s websites. The investigation revealed that Parker used other conspirators, including Koleski, to send and receive packages for his narcotics distribution business. Those conspirators received raw materials from China or elsewhere through the mail, repackaged and sent them to Parker, who then manufactured those materials into the chemicals that he sold online. Afterwards, Parker transported the finished products back to his conspirators, who then shipped them to Parker's customers.
For example, from June 30, 2017 through July 5, 2017, Koleski shipped approximately 218 parcels from a post office located in Farmingdale, many of which contained controlled substance analogues that Parker sold online. A court-authorized search and seizure of approximately 75 of those packages revealed that Parker and Koleski were also distributing the controlled substance analogues A-PHP and 3-MEO-PCP, which have chemical structures and hallucinogenic properties similar to the Schedule I controlled substances A-PVP and PCP, respectively.
Each charge in the complaint carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski, and postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge James V. Buthorn, with the investigation leading to today’s arrests.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Wangenheim of the OCDETF/Narcotics Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.