Evan P. Sage, 20, and Cameron J. Lensmeyer, 20, have been sentenced to federal prison for illegal possession and distribution of drugs and possession of a firearm. Lensmeyer earlier pleaded guilty in May to possession of carfentanil and marijuana with intent to distribute. The authorities, therefore, sentenced him to seven years in prison. Sage also pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana, carfentanil, and cocaine with intent to distribute. Also, Sage pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm – a furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He was therefore sentenced to seven years in the U.S. District Court on Wednesday.
According to the Justice Department, a search conducted in their shared residence in Cedar Falls by the Tri-County Drug Enforcement Task Force led to the discovery of a bunch of drugs including 800 blue pills disguised as prescription oxycodone. Also, authorities seized over 30 grams of cocaine and 600 grams of marijuana. In addition, $20,000 in cash believed to be a proceed from their illegal drug dealings was confiscated, and a loaded Ceska Zbrojovka-Praha .32 caliber handgun was seized.
Authorities later tested the blue pills and discovered they contained carfentanil, a drug which is used as elephant tranquilizer. Carfentanil has been said to be dangerous for human use considering how potent it is. This drug in possession of the duo is 10000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times potent than fentanyl. According to the Drug Enforcement Agencies and other related agencies, carfentanil has resulted in the overdose deaths of a high number of people across the country. This information came out in the February 2018 hearing in federal court in Cedar Rapids.
In their previous guilty plea, Sage and Lensmeyer admitted to the fact that dark web had been their primary source of illegal drugs. As they claimed, they purchased Oxycodone and Alprazolam on a dark web marketplace and made payments with Bitcoin. The duo bought oxycodone online but carfentanyl was found in the pills; U.S. District Senior Judge Linda Reade said in the court that even though they had no idea that carfentanil was in the pills, she does not find this as an excuse. According to her, not knowing what they were selling could have led the death of a user. “Not even know what you’re selling. … Someone could have died,” she said.
Brian Johnson, Lensmeyer’s lawyer, revealed to the court that his client has realized how lucky he is that his distributed drugs led to no drug-related death.
Jill Johnston, Sage’s lawyer, tried to make a case for her client, though he was handed a longer sentence since a gun was found in his possession. According to Johnston, it is true that Sage had a gun in his possession; however, there is no evidence that he tried to harm anyone with the weapon. Despite her attempt, the judge found no legal ground in her argument and made sure her sentence reflected the firearm possession. Johnston also admitted that his client has no excuse in engaging in the illicit selling of drugs. He said that there could have been lethal consequences for its users as his client did not know that the pills contained carfentanil.
At the law court, both Sage and Lensmeyer issued an official apology both to the court and to their family for their actions. They were both remorseful and showed that they would not choose this path again if given another chance.
DEA special agent James Hunt believes that the recent overdose deaths and other effects that come with drug trafficking establishes that one of the biggest threats the country faces is cyber drug trafficking. The U.S. authorities recently conducted a nationwide undercover operation which was meant to arrest dark web drug vendors in response to the high influx of drugs in the country. The Justice Department revealed that authorities managed to arrest 35 dark web vendors. The prosecution of Sage and Lensmeyer indicates that authorities are very vigilant and are ready to face drug traffickers with the full force of the law.