According to an announcement from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), a “prolific drug trafficker” landed in police custody after an investigation into thousands of drug transactions that connected to a single drug operation. The RCMP ended the career of one of the largest fentanyl vendors in Canada. Towards the end of the month of May, the RCMP SOC rounded up four individuals suspected of running the Dream vendor account “Mr Hotsauce” or working as one of the primary conspirator’s associates.
The announcement said the four individuals either operated the darknet market vendor account(s) or functioned as so-called “couriers” essential to the Mr Hotsauce operation. George Anthony Athanasiou, 25, seemingly functioned as the primary conspirator and account owner—the press release left ownership interpretations up to the reader. However, Canadian authorities handed down a total of 46 criminal charges after arresting the four suspects and Athanasiou caught more charges than his co-conspirators.
“The RCMP remains committed to identifying, disrupting and dismantling those who seek to traffic these dangerous drugs in our communities. This includes those groups who may try to conceal their illegal activities using complex schemes and Darkweb ventures,” an RCMP officer said in a statement.
Athanasiou was charged with crimes under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) and the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC). The RCMP charged him with nine counts of trafficking schedule one substances; nine counts of exporting schedule one substances; nine counts of possession of schedule one substances for the purpose of trafficking; nine counts of possession of schedule one substances for the purpose of exporting; four counts of breach of recognizance; two counts of conspiracy; and two firearms law violations.
Even though Mr Hotsauce had a reputation as one of Canada’s best fentanyl vendors, the RCMP noticed the listings for methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA, ketamine, and several other illegal substances. They wrote that the vendor account was likely “responsible for several thousand illegal drug transactions.”
Jona Claudia Faller, 28, picked up almost as many charges as Athanasiou. The RCMP charged Faller with nine counts of trafficking schedule one substances; nine counts of exporting schedule one substances; nine counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking; nine counts of possession for the purpose of exporting; two counts of conspiracy; and two firearms-related charges.
During the searches executed in connection with the Mr Hotsauce operation, the RCMP discovered methamphetamine, ketamine, crack cocaine, and heroin. The recent Dream Market fentanyl ban may have something to do with the fact that none of the suspects had fentanyl in their possession. Mr Hotsauce, on Dream, announced that his last fentanyl sale would take place on May 14.
The police also seized a firearm, ammunition, $100,000 in cash, roughly $200,000 in cryptocurrencies, and various items used in darknet drug trafficking operations.
Two suspects—Chadwicklee McLean, 20, and Cypress Araujo, 21—received the same charges in number and in kind. Both caught nine counts of exporting schedule one substances; nine counts of trafficking schedule one substances; and two counts of conspiracy. All four suspects lived in Toronto, Ontario. The ringleader in this operation looks to be the one suspect with the majority of the charges. However, each suspect and their respective charges fit the profile of a darknet vendor; all four were caught on conspiracy charges, exporting schedule one substances charges, and trafficking schedule one substances charges.