ANNOUNCES ARRESTS OF WEBSITE
WASHINGTON, DC – DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy today announced the culmination of “Operation Web Tryp” that resulted in ten arrests and targeted five websites. Operation Web Tryp investigated Internet websites distributing highly dangerous designer drug analogues under the guise of “research chemicals” primarily shipped to the U.S. from China and India. These websites are known to have thousands of customers worldwide. One website operator is known to conduct estimated sales of $20,000 per week, while another is known to have been in business for more than five years. These websites sold substances that led to the fatal overdose of at least two individuals and 14 non-fatal overdoses.
“The Internet has become the street corner for many drug users and traffickers. Drug pushers who use the Internet will find themselves out of business and behind bars,” Administrator Tandy said. ‘These dealers now enter into the privacy of our own homes to entice and sell destruction to our children veiled under the illusion of being safe and legal. The formulation of analogues is like a drug dealer’s magic trick meant to fool law enforcement. They didn’t fool us and we must educate our children so they are not fooled either. Today’s action will help prevent future deaths and overdoses, and will serve as notice for those dealing in designer drugs and the illegal use of the Internet.”
This operation resulted in the following website operators arrests on July 21, 2004:
BACKGROUND ON DESIGNER DRUGS FROM OPERATION WEB TRYP
The products sold by the above mentioned websites are synthetic substances chemically identified as tryptamines, piperazines, and phenylethylamines. Some of these substances are specifically restricted under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) while others, when intended for human consumption, are controlled under the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act (CSAEA). Prior to the CSAEA, chemists would cause slight changes in the molecular structure of a controlled substance to circumvent the CSA. The CSAEA was enacted to arm law enforcement with the tools needed to stay one step ahead of the drug dealers’ innovations. On the street and in Internet chat rooms these substances go by innocuous names such as “Foxy Methoxy” and “DIPT.” Many young people are led to believe that these substances are a form of “legal” Ecstasy or LSD because they produce similar hallucinogenic effects. Adolescents and young adults are primary abusers of these chemicals. Many have the false impression that they are not as harmful or addictive as mainstream drugs such as heroin or cocaine. This is a highly dangerous emerging drug trend. Because the recommended dosages can vary by as little as a milligram, any slight miscalculation can cause fatal results.
In April 2002, an 18-year-old male in Hancock, New York died after consuming a chemical obtained from WWW.PONDMAN.NU. A 19-year-old male friend of the decedent later confirmed using similar chemicals obtained from WWW.PONDMAN.NU that resulted in him suffering from seizures, floating spots in his vision, memory lapses, uncontrollable teeth grinding and large lumps that would appear and disappear periodically on his face and neck.
In March 2004, a 22-year-old male resident of St. Francisville, Louisiana died after ingesting a substance he believed to be similar to Ecstasy. When found by his mother he asked to be driven to the hospital where he died three days later. His body temperature had reached an astounding 108 degrees. It was later found that the substance used was sent from WWW.AMERICANCHEMICALSUPPLY.COM, one of the targeted websites in this investigation.
These website operators
attempted to give an appearance of legitimacy to their websites by
presumably selling these chemicals to bona fide researchers; however,
a review of customer lists revealed purchasers with e-mail addresses
such as acidtripo420@; ecstasylight@; madtriper17@; moontripperdipt@;
partys_with_glow_sticks@; professor@; psychedelic_stoner@; and ravergirlny@.
These enforcement actions demonstrate the DEA’s steadfast commitment to identifying and preventing any illegal drug distribution through the use of the Internet. The success of this operation could not have taken place without the cooperation and coordination of the following:
DEA and US Attorney’s
Office, Albuquerque, NM