Police arrested a high school senior in Massachusetts for distributing Xanax he had allegedly purchased on the darknet. The senior, 18-year-old Ethan Morris, fell into a trap set up by law enforcement after selling to an undercover officer he met on Facebook. After his arrest, he pleaded not guilty to the drug charges at his arraignment hearing in front of Judge William Rota at the Southern Berkshire District Court.
The school had alerted the police that someone had been selling pressed alprazolam bars that were “double the dose” of pharmaceutical Xanax. The school also sent an email instilling fear into the parents of the students who attended the school. The FUD-filled email said:
“[Counterfeit] Xanax often comes in bars that contain 3-4 times the amount of Benzodiazepine as prescribed Xanax. Fake Xanax bars are produced in home labs with substitute ingredients that may include chalk, baking powder, Hydrochloric Acid, ammonia, rat poison and fentanyl, a deadly analgesic.”
Someone sent a tip to police that set the investigation onto Morris in motion. The officer and Morris, using Facebook Messenger, decided to meet at Housatonic to conduct the transaction. They had agreed upon a price of $100 for 20 pills. Police officers arrested Morris after he had conducted business with the undercover officer.
Police officers seized his iPhone and drugs. They received consent to search Morris’ bedroom. They found a laptop, a flash drive, and 12 “pill halves.” For some reason, Morris began admitting to police every detail they needed to build an even better case against him. He told officers that he had purchased 1,100 pills on the darknet for $750. The Postal Service had delivered the pills. Once the pills had arrived, the 18-year-old said, he sold them to anywhere between 50 and 100 buyers. At a later point in the interview, he lowered the range of buyers to between 20 and 50.
He assured the investigators that he never sold to anyone under 18 years old. Morris said that he charged $5 for each pill unless a buyer purchased 100 or more pills. At that point, Morris dropped the price to $2 per pill. He told the investigators that he had not sold the pressed bars to anyone at his high school. The investigators have reason to believe otherwise, though.
In January, a car containing four girls between the ages of 18 and 19 rolled over in a ditch. The police found Xanax, marijuana, and alcohol in the vehicle. One of the girls told the police that she had taken Xanax (and that she had blacked out for two days while using it). The police have good reason to believe that the Xanax found at the scene of the incident matched the Xanax sold by Morris. The State Police Crime Lab is running tests on the pills from Morris and the pills from the car to find if they match.
Meanwhile, Morris will be waiting for his next court appearance in late March.