NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A city man and woman face federal charges accusing them of distributing drugs through a large-scale operation purporting to be an online pharmacy
Evelin Bracy, 34, and Jorge Rodriguez Lopes, 32, have each been charged with conspiracy to distribute opioids, distribution of drugs over the Internet, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, federal authorities said in a statement.
“The two individuals arrested allegedly have been distributing powerful narcotics not just in New Jersey, but across the United States, based on orders placed through a supposed online pharmacy,” said Valerie Nickerson, Special Agent in Charge of the New Jersey office of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
Bracy and Rodriguez Lopez were arrested Monday and appeared in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
In the statement, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said the two suspects allegedly conspired to distribute the opioids oxycodone, hydrocodone, and a fentanyl, and laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars in narcotics trafficking proceeds.
Law enforcement agents began investigating an online pharmacy website, called “Pharmacy Website,” following an overdose death of a victim in Boise, Idaho, in March 2017, federal authorities said.
They said the victim died from elevated levels of multiple prescription opioids as well as fentanyl, and that the victim’s computer showed that he had repeatedly ordered painkillers from the Pharmacy Website.
Computer records showed he had wired thousands of dollars to a bank account in connection with these purchases, according to the authorities.
They said investigators discovered Bracy and Rodriguez Lopez used this bank account and bank records show this account and several others Bracy used had received over $750,000 in apparent narcotics proceeds.
Also, authorities said, the two suspects had withdrawn hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from these accounts, and used these accounts to pay the costs for the drug operation, including the shipping expenses.
Details released in the statement show that undercover law enforcement agents made multiple drug purchases from the Pharmacy Website, and received instructions to send payments to the two suspects.
In some cases, authorities said, customers purchased what they believed to be prescription drugs, but instead received pills containing other substances.
The charges of conspiracy to distribute drugs and distribution over the Internet each carry maximum sentences of 40 years in prison upon conviction.