Two Middlesex County men and an Ocean County resident have been indicted for allegedly operating storefronts on the dark web which sold and shipped out hundreds of thousands of counterfeit Xanax tablets and other controlled substances to buyers in 43-states.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) also announced that the three men also laundered $2.3-million in crytopcurrency by using pre-loaded debit cards and withdrawing cash from ATM's in Manhattan and New Jersey.

Chester Anderson, 44, of Middlesex County was the leader while Jarrette Codd, 41, also of Middlesex County and Ronald MacCarty, 51, of Ocean County are listed as co-conspirators in the scheme.

Manhattan D.A. investigators made a number of undercover purchases in cryptocurrency before executing court-authorized search warrants on the defendants’ New Jersey properties and vehicles.

Investigators say they seized the largest quantity of pills in New Jersey State history, including approximately 420,000 to 620,000 alprazolam tablets, as well as approximately 500 glassines of fentanyl-laced heroin and quantities of methamphetamine, ketamine, gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), and more. Investigators also recovered four pill presses and two industrial mixers, among other drug manufacturing items, and thousands of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency.

Anderson, Codd and MacCarty have all been charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Conspiracy in the Fourth and Fifth Degrees, as well as Money Laundering in the First Degree.

Anderson is also charged with multiple counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth and Fifth Degrees, and Identity Theft in the First Degree.

The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office is handling the prosecution of the items seized in New Jersey.

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, Anderson ran two dark web storefronts, using the screenname “sinmed,” to sell alprazolam and other controlled substances.

Codd and MacCarty got on board and assisted with manufacturing and equipment procurement.

Manhattan D.A. undercover investigators purchased approximately 10,000 alprazolam tablets, in addition to ketamine and GHB, from the sinmed storefronts over the course of the conspiracy.

The Manhattan D.A.’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau were able to identify more than 1,000 packages that were shipped by the defendants from New Jersey to locations across the country and seized an additional 8,000 tablets by intercepting several of the packages.

Nearly all of the packages had return addresses that falsely identified the sender as a Manhattan business, including multiple Manhattan law firms and a real estate agency.

Anderson and MacCarty allegedly created a shell company, 'Next Level Research and Development', to purchase more than 1,000 kilograms of microcrystalline cellulose, the primary ingredient used to manufacture pharmaceutical tablets.

They also used MacCarty's cellphone repair store, 'The Wireless Spot', to purchase a pill press, a powder mixer, and “punch dies” used to imprint “Xanax” labels on alprazolam pills.

These men also laundered more than $2.3-million in proceeds by using the cryptocurrency they received as payment to load pre-paid debit cards, and collectively withdrew more than $1-million from ATMs in Manhattan and New Jersey.

As a result of the investigation and indictment, Anderson is charged with:

  • Money Laundering in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree, a class C felony, one count
  • Identity Theft in the First Degree, a class D felony, four counts
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree, a class D felony, four counts
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, one count
  • Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count

Codd is charged with:

  • Money Laundering in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, one count
  • Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count

MacCarty is charged with:

  • Money Laundering in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, one count
  • Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count

“When our office received reports of suspicious activity at ATMs in New York and New Jersey, our talented investigators followed the money, using our state-of-the-art Cyber Lab to uncover a dark web counterfeit pill seller whose $2.3 million operation spanned the U.S.,” Manhattan District Attorney Vance said. “Not only is this the first time state prosecutors in New York have taken down a dark web storefront, this takedown represents the largest pill seizure in New Jersey’s history. If you are engaging in illicit activity on the dark web, you are on notice: we know how to find you, we know how to put you out of business, and we know how to hold you criminally accountable. If you would like to report crimes committed on the dark web or anywhere else, please call our Cyber hotline at 212-335-9600.”

Assistant D.A.s Daniel Haier and Jessica Peck are handling the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant D.A. Elizabeth Roper (Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau), Assistant D.A. Jeremy Glickman (Deputy Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau and Counsel to the Investigation Division) and Executive Assistant D.A. Michael Sachs (Chief of the Investigation Division). Supervising Rackets Investigator Gregory Dunlavey, former Special Investigator William Burmeister, High Technology Analysis Unit Deputy Director David Chan, and Analysts Jonathan Behnken, Catherine Wigdor, and Charles Fraker, assisted with the investigation.

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