A North Carolina man is will be spending 26 months in prison following a conviction for purchasing oxycodone from a vendor on the darkweb.
Earlier this year, Wesley McKeehan, a resident of Salisbury, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of a controlled substance (oxycodone).
A federal indictment charged McKeehan with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone and one count of distribution of a controlled substance in April 2021. The charges stemmed from an incident wherein the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration learned of a suspicious package en route to an address in Savannah, Georgia. The package was shipped to the business address of Eric Schmidt, 50.
After delivery of the package, federal agents executed a search warrant at the property. During the search, investigators learned that the package had contained oxycodone pills. DEA agents questioned Schmidt about the origin of the pills, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice. Schmidt told the agents that he had purchased the pills from McKeehan who had purchased the pills from a vendor on the darkweb. It appears as if McKeehan had drop-shipped the oxycodone by providing the vendor with Schmidt’s address instead of his own.
Details about McKeehan’s case are hard to find. The majority of court documents contain simple statements and signatures. Schmidt’s case is no different.
Schmidt pleaded guilty to a single count of Unlawful Acquisition of a Controlled Substance by Deception of Subterfuge. Specifically, he “acquired Oxycodone through a package delivery service from an address outside the United States, and the Oxycodone was concealed within the package.” A judge sentenced Schmidt to three years of probation with a small monetary penalty.
“Mr. McKeehan thought he could hide his illegal operations through the use of the Dark Web,” said Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “But criminals who operate on the Dark Web should know that the DEA and its law enforcement partners will not rest until all of the distributors of this poison are caught and prosecuted.”
“The opioid crisis has devastated countless communities across the country, so when we are able to stop the flow of illegal opioids, it greatly benefits our communities and undoubtedly saves lives,” said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “HSI will continue to use its resources and partnerships to identify and arrest those involved in this destructive crime, to protect our communities.”
On September 28, 2021, US District Court Judge R. Stan Baker sentenced McKeehan to two years and two months in federal prison. The sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release.