CRIME

Dave & Dujanovic: Busting drug rings on the dark (and deadly) web

Oct 1, 2020, 5:45 PM | Updated: Oct 2, 2020, 12:39 pm
opioid ring...
FILE - This booking photo provided by the Weber County Sheriff's Office shows Aaron Michael Shamo, 29, at the center of a multimillion-dollar dark web opioid drug ring case says he saw himself as helping people get prescription drugs they needed while making money for himself and his friends. (Weber County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)
(Weber County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Narcotics users don’t need to leave their homes during the pandemic, thanks to the dark web. And it keeps them hooked even under quarantine.

Through the dark web, private commuter networks can communicate and conduct business anonymously without divulging identifying information, such as their location. The dark web forms a small part of the deep web — the part of the web not indexed by search engines.

Busted

Operation DisrupTor was an international investigation targeting opioid traffickers on the dark web. The investigation resulted in 179 arrests worldwide, $6.5 million in seized (including digital currency) and 500 kilograms of drugs.

Operation DisrupTor was the U.S. government’s largest activity targeting criminal activity to date — particularly opioid — trafficking on the darknet.

Dark web in Utah

U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber joined Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic Thursday to discuss the dark web and how it helps deliver illegal drugs to mailboxes in Utah. 

“Is this a big problem here in Utah?” Debbie asked the attorney. “Is this dark web being used to deliver drugs to the doorsteps of Utah residents?” 

“Oh, absolutely, Debbie,” Huber said. “In fact, Utah — we’re the cutting edge on many things. We were the cutting edge unfortunately on cracking cases on the darknet. Back in 2016, we busted a ring run by a guy named Aaron Shamo.”

Aaron Michael Shamo, 29, of Cottonwood Heights was found guilty in September 2019 after a jury found he imported and distributed fentanyl from China. Shamo now faces a potential mandatory-minimum life sentence. 

Almost 500,000 fentanyl-laced pills were distributed throughout the country — most of them by the U.S. mail. Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine.

“Two milligrams [of fentanyl] — that’s like two grains of salt — is enough to kill someone who hasn’t built up a tolerance,” Huber said.

“Ninety-plus people, who were customers of his, died of overdoses that we can see. That’s a conservative estimate,” Huber said, who said it’s a “huge” problem in Utah and worldwide.

He compared drug trafficking on the dark web to an “Amazon of a parallel universe,” including customer reviews and five-star ratings.

“People are ordering drugs like they would new sneakers,” the U.S. attorney said.

“As you talk about these deliveries, how are they being delivered?” Dave asked. “Are they being delivered by the U.S. Postal Service and Amazon? Is there a special group of deliverers?” 

“They’re going to use a common carrier,” Huber said. “That’s UPS, FedEx, DHL, that’s the United States Postal Service.”

 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play

Today’s Top Stories

Crime

Image from the scene of the shooting on South Major street in Salt Lake City (Photo courtesy of SLC...
Chandler Holt

SLCPD investigating party shooting that left one in critical condition

Police received multiple calls regarding shots fired near 1485 South Major Street at around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday July 3, 2022. 
15 hours ago
The scene of the shooting at 900 S. 200 West (Photo courtesy of Adam Sotelo)...
Chandler Holt

UPDATE: Shooting on TRAX platform leaves one dead, one injured

Police responded to reports of shots fired on a TRAX platform near 900 South and 200 West at around 10 p.m. on Saturday night.
15 hours ago
Herbert Cox statement Reyes election lawsuit...
Mark Jones

State of Utah files lawsuit against pharmaceutical retailers

Three pharmaceutical retailers are facing a lawsuit from the State of Utah. The lawsuit was filed the week of July 1.
3 days ago
draper shooting police...
Mark Jones

Party ban becomes permanent for Airbnb

Airbnb announced this week that it is placing permanent ban on disruptive parties. In April, two people died in a shooting at an Airbnb in Draper.
4 days ago
...
Mark Jones

Suspect taken into custody after firing shots in Kearns

A shelter in place was issued Wednesday evening in Kearns after an 18-year-old male fired a weapon at a family member fled the scene through a residential area.
5 days ago
Lina Reyes Geddes, of Youngstown, Ohio, has been identified as the victim in a 1998 homicide cold c...
Mark Jones

Garfield County cold case homicide is brought to a close

Authorities in Utah and Ohio announced Wednesday the closure of a Garfield County cold case that dates back to April 20, 1998.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Dave & Dujanovic: Busting drug rings on the dark (and deadly) web