In July, the Summit County Attorney’s Office issued a press release warning citizens that Customs had intercepted packages of ecstasy and U-47700 ordered by an individual living in Park City, Utah. The notice advised parents to speak with their children about the drugs and to watch out for suspicious packages. Two weeks after the announcement, Summit County law enforcement revealed the arrest of at least one suspect and ongoing investigations into several other suspected darknet drug buyers.
Two years ago, in Park City, Grant Seaver and Ryan Ainsworth, both 13, overdosed on U-47700. Both teenagers fatally overdosed only two days apart. The overdoses spread fear throughout Park City and eventually became one of the driving forces behind the Drug Enforcement Administration’s decision to add U-47700 to an emergency scheduling list. In the investigation that followed the arrest of the teenagers, the police discovered that several older teenagers had been purchasing U-47700 (U4) on the darknet to sell locally. Some ordered the drug for personal use. And some, according to one suspect, only ordered on behalf of their friends.
As minors in middle school, the suppliers of the U4 received very little in the way of punishment for drug distribution that resulted in death. Additionally, U4 was legal at the time and remained legal for months afterwards. Although the overdoses occurred in 2016, residents of Park City have not stopped hearing about the case. In March, the parents of one of the 13-year-old boys filed a wrongful death lawsuit against four individuals involved in their son’s death. The lawsuit charges the parents of the other 13-year-old for negligence and asks for $300,000. One of those named in the lawsuit was a 17-year-old girl who ordered U4 for other teenagers during the time of the overdoses.
That girl, a high school student at Park City High School, allegedly ordered the recently seized ecstasy and U4 that the Summit County Attorney’s Office had mentioned in the public warning. The girl, a 17-year-old, was charged with four counts of drug distribution. Three of the charges are in connection with the intercepted packages and one of the charges accuses her of involvement in the 2016 overdoses.
To some residents of Park City, her alleged involvement may have come as a surprise. To others, perhaps, her involvement may have been expected. The girl had recently given a (now deleted) TedX talk on the topic of drug addiction and her own struggles. When confronted by police, she admitted that she had been ordering drugs from the darknet. According to court documents, the girl told police that she “had learned how to purchase the substances through the dark web from friends who had purchased U-44770 and had it delivered to her house in 2016.”
An investigation into any co-conspirators is currently underway.