According to official documents at the Hennepin County District Court, the 18-year-old faces charges of a first-degree drug sale of 50 or more grams of a narcotic in a 90-day span, as well as a second-degree drug possession. The charges were outlined in a criminal complaint filed this week at the court.
Federal authorities investigated online narcotics trade when they detained the suspect, who was in his first semester studying bioscience. Law enforcement authorities accused the student of trafficking ecstasy from his dorm room.
Nichols made his initial court appearance on Friday afternoon. Currently, he is held with $75,000 bail.
According to the criminal complaint, US Department of Homeland Security agents, with the assist of university police, arrested the 18-year-old earlier this week. Law enforcement authorities detained the suspect after a probe into dark net drug sales. However, it is unclear how feds discovered the student’s criminal activities.
When authorities knocked on the door of the 18-year-old’s dorm room, Nichols gave them permission to search the room at Centennial Hall, where they found $26,950 in cash, a vacuum sealer, vacuum sealed bags and two digital scales. Investigators also intercepted a narcotics package containing about 54 grams of ecstasy, addressed to Nichols’ dorm room.
It is unknown if the intercepted parcel was coming from abroad, or from the United States. Since the package contained ecstasy, there is a chance that it came from the Netherlands. US dark net vendors have much higher prices for the substance than Europeans, so many resellers and users of the drug in North America order ecstasy and MDMA from overseas. The Netherlands is listed as one of the drug capitals of the world and is one of the top producers of MDMA (both pills and crystal). Additionally, the dark net scene in Holland is quite active, marketplaces are full of vendors, who offer bulk deals on large quantities of ecstasy. However, ordering narcotics from the Netherlands as a US citizen is a risky business. The customs authorities have intercepted numerous packages coming from the European country. According to some sources, parcels coming from the Netherlands are flagged by US authorities for further examination.
In January, Ashley Brian Hills, a 21-year-old from Tauranga, New Zealand, was standing before the court for ordering MDMA from the Netherlands. According to police information, the suspect started purchasing the substance from dark net vendors in August 2016. After his first (successful) order, Hills placed two other orders, which were both seized by the customs. The parcels contained 25 grams of MDMA and an additional 50 ecstasy pills. After law enforcement authorities obtained the necessary warrants in the investigation, they arrested the 21-year-old. While in police custody, he confessed his crimes and expressed deep regret. Judge Thomas Ingram charged Hills with the importation of ecstasy under the Misuse of Drugs Act. The defendant faces life imprisonment.
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