GA: North Carolina man sentenced to federal prison for distributing opioids through the Dark Web

Savannah customer also sentenced

A North Carolina man who ordered and illegally sold highly addictive opioids through the Dark Web has been sentenced to federal prison.

Wesley McKeehan, 34, of Salisbury, N.C., was sentenced to 26 months in prison after pleading guilty to Distribution of Oxycodone, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker also ordered McKeehan to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Use of the Dark Web for buying and selling illegal drugs is a growing menace that worsens the deadly opioid crisis in our communities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “Our law enforcement partners perform outstanding work in identifying and intercepting this illegal commerce, and holding digital drug dealers like McKeehan accountable.”

As described in court documents and testimony, agents with the Savannah Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration were alerted about a suspected contraband package being delivered to the business address of Eric Schmidt, 50, of Savannah. Agents searched the business after the package was delivered, and McKeehan later was charged after Schmidt admitted purchasing the opioid Oxycodone from McKeehan and allowing McKeehan to use his mailing address for importing the drugs from an overseas distributor via the Dark Web.

Schmidt was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to an Information charging him with Acquiring, Possession of Controlled Substances by Misrepresentation, Fraud, Forgery, Deception, or Subterfuge.

“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.”

“Illegal trading of opioids poses a significant health threat,” said Henry DeBlock, Area Port Director Savannah. “Through hard work, dedication and tireless efforts of Customs and Border Protection officers, we’ll continue to target shipping of illegal narcotics at our ports of entry before they can harm our communities.”

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration Savannah Resident Office, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Savannah-Chatham Counter Narcotics Team, and the Glynn County Sheriff’s Office, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew A. Josephson.

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