A tip from New York customs led to a ‘major’ drug bust in Wisconsin. Two 19-year-olds ordered a package of 5,000 alprazolam pills from a darknet dealer in Great Britain. Customs caught the package and alerted a drug task force in Wisconsin. The ordeal resulted in the arrest of both 19-year-olds for a wide spread of felony drug charges.
When New York customs intercepted the package, they sent word to the West Wisconsin Drug Task Force. The West Wisconsin Drug Task Force preemptively researched the package recipient. The address, it turned out, belonged to the mother of the main defendant, 19-year-old Andrew Castro. When police officers arrived at the mother’s Eau Claire home, they learned that the package’s recipient, Andrew Castro, had actually been living at a house not far away. He continued to send mail to his mother’s address, though.
Police received a warrant for Castro’s apartment and arrested Castro. A man who claimed to have been Castro’s roommate spoke to police during the arrest. The roommate likely made Castro reconsider sharing his illegal business ventures with anyone. He told police that he had lived with Castro since June 2017. He said that Castro paid him $1,000 every month to “keep quiet.” Keeping quiet, the not-so-quiet roommate explained, required turning a blind eye to Castro’s importation of thousands of alprazolam pills from the darknet every month.
The roommate told authorities that he knew Castro “was smart with computers and used Bitcoin to purchase alprazolam on the dark web.” He said that Castro purchased as many as 20,000 pills in a single instance. Castro paid $0.40 per pill and then resold 1,000 pills for $1,400, the Criminal Complaint read. The man said that Castro and 19-year-old Jacob Brunette had recently pooled their money to pay for another 20,000 alprazolam pills.
During a search of Castro’s home, the police found more than 1,100 alprazolam pills, packing material, and other shipping supplies. One news agency reported that the authorities found roughly 6,000 alprazolam pills, but they may have counted the controlled delivery pills as pills found in Castro’s home. Police searched Brunette’s house and found more alprazolam pills, along with other substances. His mother said Brunette received packages at the address, but addressed them to their dog. Brunette had $4,000 in cash in his possession at the time of arrest.
Castro received eight felony charges and Brunette received six. The charges included possession of alprazolam with intent to distribute, maintaining a drug trafficking residence, possession of illegally obtained prescription drugs, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Both suspects already made their initial court appearances. Although neither suspect would receive a max sentence, the maximum sentence for Castro is 30 years in prison and the maximum for Brunette is 10 years in prison.