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posted by on Wednesday March 22 2017, @02:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the he-didn't-want-to-get-his-hands-dirty dept.

Delivery is the weakest link in the "dark web" drug trade: the postal habits of a large-scale trader have led to his undoing.

Chukwuemeka Okparaeke is accused of dealing in very nasty stuff: Fentanyl, a high-strength synthetic opioid the Centre for Disease Control says is 50 times the potency of heroin and was responsible for nearly 10,000 deaths in the US in 2015.

Okparaeke may have been a capable Tor user, but his logistical clue needed work: he was caught not because someone linked him to his handle ("Fentmaster", on a site called the AlphaBay Marketplace), but because wearing latex gloves while depositing large numbers of packages at US post offices got the attention of staff.

He was seen at several post offices in the Middletown area of New York, and because he was bulk-buying priority delivery stamps, staff had also viewed his driver's licence.

-- submitted from IRC


Original Submission

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A congressional report released Wednesday lays out just how easy it is for Americans to buy the deadly opioid fentanyl from Chinese suppliers online and have it shipped to them via the government's own postal service. The report also lays out just how difficult the practice will be to stop.

After Googling phrases such as "fentanyl for sale," Senate investigators followed up with just six of the online sellers they found. This eventually led them to 500 financial transaction records, accounting for about $766 million worth of fentanyl entering the country and at least seven traceable overdose deaths.

[...] "Thanks to our bipartisan investigation, we now know the depth to which drug traffickers exploit our mail system to ship fentanyl and other synthetic drugs into the United States," Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio said in a statement. "The federal government can, and must, act to shore up our defenses against this deadly drug and help save lives."

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Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday March 22 2017, @02:26AM (1 child)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 22 2017, @02:26AM (#482503) Journal

    in·con·spic·u·ous
    ˌinkənˈspikyo͞oəs/Submit
    adjective
    not clearly visible or attracting attention; not conspicuous.
    "an inconspicuous red-brick building"
    synonyms: unobtrusive, unnoticeable, unremarkable, unspectacular, unostentatious, unshowy, unflashy, undistinguished, unexceptional, modest, unassuming, discreet, hidden, concealed; More

    --
    #eatyourliver #WalkAway #CTRLLeft
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @02:49AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @02:49AM (#482508)

      You have some nice childbearing feces there, friend!

  • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Ethanol-fueled on Wednesday March 22 2017, @02:28AM (8 children)

    by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 22 2017, @02:28AM (#482504) Homepage

    There's an urban legend that in the military, a female sergeant was busted by OSI/CID for cashing many series of large amounts of checks at the base exchange.

    Since it was at a place where there is a lot of sand, and fornication was forbidden, it was discovered that she was making handsome profit prostituting herself. The rumor also included a portion where she was set up for a sting and the arresting officers heard "funny noises" coming from the tent she was at.

    • (Score: 0, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @02:43AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @02:43AM (#482505)

      Funny noises? Was she getting it on with Baal?

    • (Score: 0, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @02:46AM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @02:46AM (#482507)

      Totally believable. All my whores accept checks as payment. I just go home, call the bank, and cancel payment on the checks. Free pussy!!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @03:04AM (5 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @03:04AM (#482515)

        Jerry Springer paid a prostitute with checks. Ended his political career and he became the talk show host we know and love. He was mayor of Cincinnati at the time.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @03:45AM (4 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @03:45AM (#482529)

          Speak for yourself. Years ago I flipped to Springer's show somewhere, maybe I was waiting for my car to be serviced. Anyway, it was horrible, goading poor people into awful situations. Bear baiting without the bears. By substituting people, he managed to avoid the SPCA complaining about cruelty to animals?

          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday March 22 2017, @03:50AM (3 children)

            by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday March 22 2017, @03:50AM (#482531)

            Yeah, what's the problem? Goading animals into awful situations is horrible, because animals are innocent and as smarter beings, we have a responsibility to not take unfair advantage of them. It's one thing to raise them and slaughter them humanely for food, but making them participate in pointless blood sports, or torturing them in other ways for our amusement is just wrong.

            But other humans don't get this protection, unless you're trying to argue that some humans aren't any better than animals.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @05:29AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @05:29AM (#482555)

              So humans are better than animals so they should be treated worse than animals? Got it!

              • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Wednesday March 22 2017, @06:16PM

                by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday March 22 2017, @06:16PM (#482862)

                Animals don't know that they are going on the Jerry Springer Show.
                Humans do, without someone pointing a weapon at them to force them to make fools of themselves.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @01:55PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @01:55PM (#482704)

              unless you're trying to argue that some humans aren't any better than animals

              Never. I hold the opinion that the vast majority of humans aren't any better than animals. Well, I mean, they are animals. Have you seen the shit humans do to each other?! I agree however that it would be wrong for higher forms of life to make them participate in bloodsports. They don't need the help. Would it be ethical to uncloak above New York and go all Karellen about it? Maybe, maybe not. They don't pay me enough for that.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Scrutinizer on Wednesday March 22 2017, @02:55AM

    by Scrutinizer (6534) on Wednesday March 22 2017, @02:55AM (#482511)

    He was seen at several post offices in the Middletown area of New York, and because he was bulk-buying priority delivery stamps, staff had also viewed his driver's licence.

    Since a few 'net searches along the lines of "buying postage stamps require identification" turned up only a Quora post from an alleged US postal working stating that ID is not required for purchasing US postage, what would you imagine the odds to be that Chukwuemeka used a credit card to pay for the stamps?

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @03:01AM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @03:01AM (#482514)

    Where you can't wear latex gloves without being suspected of a crime.

    What's next? Jailing hippies because they look like the type that protest wars?

    Or maybe? Preemptively modding down trolls because they might be thinking about posting FUCK SOYLENT NEWS!

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Grishnakh on Wednesday March 22 2017, @03:55AM (1 child)

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday March 22 2017, @03:55AM (#482534)

      He wasn't jailed for wearing latex gloves; he simply attracted attention because of this clue, and combined with a bunch of other evidence the cops were able to put it all together and figure out this guy was dealing fentanyl through the mail. This sounds like good old-fashioned solid police work, the kind they're supposed to be doing, without violating any rights (arguments about whether dealing strong prescription drugs should be criminal aside).

      This guy sounded like he didn't really know what he was doing. If you're going to drop lots of packages containing illicit substances in the mail, do it in various outdoor mailboxes around town, at night, when no one's looking. Don't drop them at the PO during the daytime in full view of the workers with your gloved hands, after buying tons of postage stamps.

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @06:39AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @06:39AM (#482575)

        If you're going to drop lots of packages containing illicit substances in the mail, do it in various outdoor mailboxes around town, at night, when no one's looking. Don't drop them at the PO during the daytime in full view of the workers with your gloved hands, after buying tons of postage stamps.

        The thing is, the US Postal Service will no longer deliver any stamped mail over 13 ounces unless they are presented in person to a USPS employee at a post office [usps.com]. Granted, I am assuming that some of the sent packages here weight more than 13 ounces - I don't make a lot of purchases of "illegal" drugs.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by c0lo on Wednesday March 22 2017, @05:17AM (3 children)

      by c0lo (156) on Wednesday March 22 2017, @05:17AM (#482551)

      I really doubt it was the gloves that triggered the whole thing.
      But, in case it is - take a tube of silicone sealant and smear a bit on the fingers, let it cure for a few minutes and you'll have the same effect as latex gloves with less visibility.
      Or superglue, or "liquid nails" or anything that can create a film temporary temporary stuck to you skin.

      • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Wednesday March 22 2017, @01:47PM

        by LoRdTAW (3755) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 22 2017, @01:47PM (#482701) Journal

        In grade school I remember we were making "fake skin" by coating the flat side of the hand (palms and fingers) with Elmers glue and see who could peel theirs off without ripping it. I also remember a tube of liquid gloves kicking around the basement. Something along the same lines as the elmers glue except you coated your whole hand and washed it off when finished.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by jcross on Wednesday March 22 2017, @03:07PM (1 child)

        by jcross (4009) on Wednesday March 22 2017, @03:07PM (#482749)

        No need, just wear a snazzy outfit with quality leather gloves and nobody will think it's suspicious.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @09:26PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @09:26PM (#482952)

          Or those thin work gloves like many handles-boxes-all-day types do.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Aiwendil on Wednesday March 22 2017, @10:10AM (1 child)

      by Aiwendil (531) on Wednesday March 22 2017, @10:10AM (#482632) Journal

      Where you can't wear latex gloves without being suspected of a crime.

      Well, that is a case of stupidity should be painful.

      He could just have worn thin cotton gloves over the latex gloves and glanced at his hand and simple stated "eczema flared up" when he noticed they noticed the hand, or he could just have worn the latex gloves and stated "I'm a bit hypochondriac and have a bad day with it".

      Or he could have used one of the several discreet techniques that exist to prevent leaving fingerprints not involving gloves.

      • (Score: 1) by nekomata on Wednesday March 22 2017, @10:42AM

        by nekomata (5432) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 22 2017, @10:42AM (#482637)

        > Or he could have used one of the several discreet techniques that exist to prevent leaving fingerprints not involving gloves.

        Such as ... ?

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @03:51AM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @03:51AM (#482532)

    What I want to know is where he was getting the fentanyl. Is it safe to assume that he wasn't making it in his bathtub? That leaves sourcing it somehow from one of the pharma manufacturers. Please, cops, follow the money.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @03:54AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @03:54AM (#482533)

      You cannot protect people from their own stupidity, unless you institute tyranny.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @04:18AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @04:18AM (#482538)

        Sorry if that wasn't clear. Yes, I understand that addicts will often do whatever they can to continue being addicted.

        However, pharmaceutical companies are licensed and aren't supposed to be selling to the black market. If the source was one of the big companies (perhaps through a rogue employee) and management ignored the pilferage, the company stands to get into a heap of trouble.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @02:00PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @02:00PM (#482706)

          Meh. Politicians are cheap enough. I wouldn't worry about the law being enforced in such a way that there are negative consequences for big pharma. It only gets enforced in such a way that there are increasing profits for big pharma.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @05:14AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @05:14AM (#482549)

      10-to-1 odds he bought it in bulk off the darknet himself.
      Maybe from china.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @04:24PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22 2017, @04:24PM (#482818)

      Fentanyl is usually delivered via patches so I'm guessing that's the kind he had. He could have a crew of people with imaginary pain symptoms and some gullible doctors, it's plausible.

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