Government authorities — including investigators and prosecutors — often aggressively seek out and prosecute alleged criminals for federal drug crimes. With increased access to the internet on a global stage, authorities appear to have turned their attention to internet-based drug trafficking, even seeking those allegedly committing violations in this country while living elsewhere.
A foreign national recently made an appearance in a Sacramento federal court on federal drug trafficking charges. The charges stem from a massive investigation launched by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency into online narcotics sales.
More than four years ago, federal agents in Sacramento, California began scouring the Internet for online dealers. The DEA was looking for everything from people trafficking methamphetamine and heroin to prescription drugs.
During the course of their investigation, federal drug agents were eventually led to the companies operating out of the United Kingdom and Pakistan. After a number of undercover meetings with suppliers in various European capitals, as well as online purchases, the agents were able to tie the suppliers to a 34-year-old Pakistani man. According to officials, the man ran a massive Internet drug market.
The arrest of the alleged online dealer occurred last September. The Pakistani man was passing through the international airport in Prague where he was arrested and held in custody. The man arrived in Sacramento only recently following a protracted extradition process. He is currently awaiting trial in Sacramento County Jail. The 34-year-old man is up against 40 counts of drug and money laundering charges that could result in a life sentence.
According to the DEA, the man offered pharmaceutical drugs to individuals and narcotics to large-scale dealers. He would allegedly send the product via mail to his customers after establishing payment arrangements through U.S. banks, Western Union or a broker. The investigation has identified a large U.S. customer base, including a number of repeat customers.
Whether agents will target the individuals involved in the drug importation business is yet to be seen. However, between the aggressive nature of the investigation and prosecutors eager to hold the accused accountable for alleged violations, it will be important for the defendant to fight back in court to ensure he receives all the protections allowed to those accused of crimes in this country.
Source: Sacramento Bee, “Feds accuse man of international drug dealing,” Don Thompson, June 25, 2012