DEA Busted Former Alphabay Vendor “EtiKing”

DEA Busted Former Alphabay Vendor “EtiKing”

Federal agents, after several months of investigation, arrested a EtiKing, a former Alphabay and Dream vendor. EtiKing a.k.a. Jeremy P. Achey became the target of an investigation after one of his customers died from an overdose. In reality, the DEA started investigating him after they took interest in one of the deaths; agents now believe EtiKing’s drugs may have caused 19 deaths throughout the United States.

In February, a Florida woman and her fiance overdosed on tetrahydrofuranfentanyl and Etizolam. The 24-year-old woman died but the man (hereinafter “Fiancé”) lived through the ordeal, albeit in a hospital bed. DEA agents were made aware of the situation in February. The fiancé complied with them fully during the investigation.

The coroner’s report, per the Criminal Complaint:

CONCLUSION: In consideration of the circumstances surrounding the death and after examination of the body, and review of medical information found at the seen, it is my opinion that the death of {victim], a 24 year old white female, is due to combined toxicity of tetrahydrofuranfentanyl and etizolam.”

The duo ordered the drugs from a darknet market vendor that he has used on other occasions as well. He had also used tetrahydrofuranfentanyl (hereinafter “THF-F”) six times before the overdose. He told DEA Agent Anthony Blackburn that all six packages came from the same darknet vendor: EtiKing. He kick-started the investigation with this information.

The Fiancé’s Role in the Investigation

Fiancé voluntary gave DEA agents his Alphabay username and password. Agents logged in with the provided username, “barelygrylls55,” and confirmed that Fiancé made the orders from EtiKing. Fiancé also gave agents a visual profile to work with. He said that he spoke with EtiKing via video chat where EtiKing told Fiancé that the “not for human consumption” drugs were best if snorted. He appeared to be a 27–35-year-old white male.

The last message to EtiKing from “barelygrylls55” was not even ten days after the overdose:

hey I just saw this. I overdosed. which is (crazy I didn’t do much at all, that fentanyl, but my fiancé died on it, I was revived, she wasn’t and didn’t do much… U should probably up the price and put warnings on it… I know it’s our own fault, no one made us do that but still, it’s more dangerous than the internet lets on.”

Agents then used Fiancé’s account to tell EtiKing that Fiancé was in withdrawals and needed a fix. (Remember, both etizolam and THF-F are uncontrolled substances; EtiKing had to show that he knew his customers were using the drugs). The vendor told the UC agents that he had something for him. That story ended there.

Undercover Buys Though Investigator Accounts

Using a new Alphabay account, DEA Agents made three separate buys. One in March and two in April. They ordered 4-AcO-DMT, LSD (package arrived with an ALD-52 label), and MDMA/MDA (package contained 6-APB). All three packages used the return address “USDTO 1321 Upland Drive, Houston TX 77043.”

For anyone involved in the research community, that address may ring a bell. Ditto for some /r/darknetmarkets users. But EtiKing’s account for the /r/researchmarkets and /r/RCsources subreddits—where he moderated and used his real name—spammed USDTO for months. USDTO stands for US Drug Testing Organization. The “organization” still (hardly) stands; he used the drug testing site as a harm defense argument, WFMZ reported.

He spoke about bulk RC vendors from China on one RC subreddit. The significance will be revealed below. In addition to USDTO and moderating /r/researchmarkets, EtiKing ran Chemsrus for a period of time, moderated dozens of RC forums, and used fake accounts to pad his reviews.

The Informant aka Former EtiKing

DEA Agents who worked the case in Florida took a trip to Nashville where they met more DEA Agents, along with a confidential source (CS). The CS was “well versed” in the world of darknet markets and specifically in Alphabay matters. The reason for this knowledge surfaced when asked if he/she knew of EtiKing. CS, it turned out, was EtiKing—only, CS was EtiKing roughly 18 prior to their meeting in April.

Some users noticed the account swap.

CS sold the Alphabay account, the “rights” to the username, and 90 grams of furan fentanyl. The entire package for only $400. However, the second EtiKing, known to CS as “Eric,” kept in contact with CS. In one conversation, Eric told CS that LSResearchchemlab.com was his go-to China lab for fentanyl analog. He talked about LSResearchchemlab on a certain subreddit as well. Explained how they dealt with customers and that they had a certain drug in stock, etc.

In the message where he admitted that he knew buyers died on his product:

Desmethyltramadol is selling pretty good fight now, but not on here, have not been listing fent since like 5 people died in my state and the feds have upped their investigation, no doubt they are going to come to the dark web looking for sellers, like to keep a lower profile than that.”

Coinbase

The stamps and postage EtiKing used to ship his product came from a subcontractor of Shippo called Peppership. Both companies have a service that allows the user to create shipping labels with any return address and then print them from anywhere. Peppership allows users to pay for shipping with Bitcoin. However, customers still need to provide an email address and return address before they can print shipping labels.

Upon the reception of a subpoena, Peppership immediately provided every email address associated with the Texas address. The DEA received nine email addresses. They then subpoenaed Coinbase for information related to a wallet provided by CS. Again, the agents hit a goldmine. On the main account, EtiKing used his real name: Jeremy P. Achey. He listed USDTO as his company and the Texas address as his company address.

For his personal information, EtiKing signed up with his personal address. A street in Bethlehem, PA, 18015. He also listed his personal email address as one of the email addresses that he used to purchase EtiKing postage.

Endgame

The endgame ended before it ever began. In late June, agents performed physical surveillance in Pennsylvania. They watched Jeremy Achey, his wife—Jennifer Achey—and their house. Agents followed both of the individuals as they independently took bags to the post office. The bags were filled with USPS packages that bore the Texas address.

DEA agents then notified a USPIS inspector of the packages. The inspector successfully inspected them, confirming that the packs were filled with drugs. They were photographed prepared for delivery to a DEA agent in Florida.

Officers arrested Jeremy Achey. On June 27, he stood in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry S. Perkin in Allentown, PA. The judge confirmed the charges filed in Florida during the early stages of the investigation in February. Achey’s was told that the DEA agents believed that they found 19 more overdoses directly attributable to Achey’s drugs. Judge Perkin told Achey that he would be shipped off to Florida.

On July 5, he stood in front of the judge again. This time, Achey was denied a pretrial release for being a flight risk and risk to the community. The next time Achey leaves the state, it will be with a Marshal or officer from Florida.

In Florida, authorities charged Achey for the crimes of distributing controlled substances, distributing analogues of controlled substances, and criminal use of communication facilities. The total maximum sentence is four years in prison with a mandatory minimum of three years supervised release. And that is under the assumption that no new charges stem from the ongoing investigation.

“Florida DEA agents continue investigating this overdose death attributable to the substance delivered by the defendant, and an additional 19 overdose deaths that occurred in the 2017 calendar year,” Judge Perkins wrote in the Pretrial Detention Order. “The people who died of overdose deaths were all “Dark Net” customers of the defendant,” he warned.

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