SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - Lieutenant Jeffery Russo of the Investigations Division of the South Brunswick Police Department has recently received an award from the Federal Drug Agents Foundation for his involvement in taking down a dark web narcotics distributor located in Middlesex county. The arrest led to the biggest pill distribution arrest in the history of the state, with around 5,000 Xanax pills being found in Home Depot buckets.
The company ‘Sinmed’ has been charged on multiple accounts including criminal sale of controlled substances, identity theft and money laundering in both New York and New Jersey. Chester Anderson, the Middlesex resident who was distributing illegal substances on the dark web, is currently being held at Rikers Island in New York and set to face trial. Anderson has a record in Middlesex County after he committed a robbery of a local restaurant in South Brunswick in 2014.
Lieutenant Russo has a long history of narcotics investigations, yet this was his first investigation into illegal distributions over the dark web. In normal narcotic investigations, police rely on informants who will buy illegal substances on the street under police surveillance in order to collect information on a seller. Dark web narcotics are never sold on the street; therefore, officials have to purchase the drugs from him online and watch him fill in the orders over the mail. Surveillance of Anderson lasted about 18 months as police watched him for hours every day, according to Russo.
“The entire investigation division was involved with the take down and search warrants and everything else. But Detective Dominic Delucia was really my right-hand man throughout all of this. Both he and the rest of the force really made this operation and take down possible.” Russo said.
Anderson was dealing makeshift Xanax made out of Alprazolam, that he then distributed over the mail, according to the indictment. He would make these pills in his home with a machine and materials that were purchased off of the dark web using a crypto currenc, a common method for those who purchase drugs on the dark web. Russo says that dark web drug dealers stay away from pushing common illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine as to avoid detection from the authorities.
Anderson also kept a device in his car that would block out any GPS or cell phone detection when filling out orders at the Plainsboro Post Office in Middlesex County. Police were able to determine when Anderson was out of his house and doing something illegal by seeing his car location disappear from their trackers, according to Russo.
Police arrested Anderson back in April after spending thousands of dollars buying illegal substances from his company. He is facing charges of money laundering and drug distribution charges in New York. Anderson’s sales were within the united states to at least 40 states, according to authorities. Since then, The South Brunswick Police Department has put their focus back on street level drug dealing as it is more common than narcotics being sold over the dark web.