Jamil I. Chapman and his nephew Nasai J. Chapman allegedly used the darknet to import fentanyl and carfentanil from China to their residence in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Authorities announced that, in total, the men had ordered *fentanyl packages on seven occasions and received between 400 and 500 grams of the drugs.
The investigation began in 2017 after a neighbor reported the duo’s “suspicious” activity to the police. Police had recently responded to the apartment owned by one of the suspects when Jamil had overdosed on heroin. The police found heroin in his possession and evidence that he had been using the apartment to process fentanyl and carfentanil. Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said the Chapmans were the first alleged drug dealers who trafficked carfentanil in Montgomery County.
In September 8, 2017, Jamil had to report to Montgomery County Correctional Facility to serve a sentence for a crime unrelated to the fentanyl trafficking charges. Only three days later, the Lower Merion police returned to his apartment to gather evidence against the Chapman duo. They found “75 bags of heroin stamped “PLUTO,” court documents revealed. They called the product heroin but wrote that they believed the bags contained fentanyl. They also found Western Union money orders not unlike those used in jail as a replacement for cash.
That also found Jamil’s laptop that contained evidence of an undisclosed nature that indicated the men had used the darknet to purchase the drugs on several occasions; carfentanil; and six MoneyGram money order receipts. After gathering the evidence from the apartment, the police made their next and most important move. They accessed the recorded phone calls Jamil had placed to Nasai and others after he had reported to the correctional facility for his unrelated sentence. The recordings provided a wealth of information. While actively monitoring the man’s phone calls to Nasai, the police learned that he had rented another apartment prior to reporting the correctional facility.
Phones inside jails, prisons, and PDCs in the United States do not function in a way that encourages illicit conversation. Prosecutors have used recorded phone calls from jail against criminals for years. Even phone calls to an inmate’s attorney are recorded—with a handful of exceptions. Those recordings are still protected and the authorities can only listen to them if they suspect the conversation involved escape or other immediately relevant information. Any other phone call, though, is fair game. With the exception of jails where attorney’s are able to
During the monitoring of Jamil’s phone calls, the police learned that Jamil and Nasai had ordered 100 grams of fentanyl and expected the package to arrive at Jamil’s newly rented apartment. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted the package at JFK International Airport and confirmed the package’s contents: 99 grams of fentanyl. One month later, investigators discovered that the duo had ordered another package of fentanyl. This time the package contained 200 grams of the potent opioid. U.S. Customs stopped the second package.
According to Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, both men were arraigned before District Court Judge Karen Zucker on several charges related to their alleged fentanyl and carfentanil operation. Both men received possession with intent to distribute charges, corrupt organizations charges, unlawful use of a communications device, and dealing with the proceeds of a crime.The judge set the bail at $250,000. Nether could post bail and both will remain in jail until their preliminary hearing in early April.