Quebec man facing charges in U.S. for allegedly importing fentanyl using darknet

Authorities in the United States have charged a Quebec man for allegedly funnelling fentanyl into that country using a network of secret websites called the darknet.

The charges against Arden McCann in connection with the disruption of an alleged international opioid-trafficking ring were announced this week by officials in Washington, D.C.

article continues below

McCann, 32, of St-Bruno, Que., south of Montreal, has been in preventative custody in Canada since earlier this year. He was arrested by the RCMP in late February and faces extradition.

He is facing charges in Atlanta on four counts including conspiring to import drugs into the United States and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Authorities say at least one person in Georgia died in December 2016 from the synthetic opioid known as fentanyl, allegedly imported by McCann.

The darknet is a part of the internet hosted within an encrypted network and accessible only through specialized anonymity-providing tools, notably the Tor browser.

On Tuesday, a senior U.S. Department of Justice official announced 179 arrests worldwide allegedly tied to the network and described McCann as one of the Drug Enforcement Administration's most wanted targets.

"McCann allegedly imported fentanyl and fentanyl analogs from China to Canada and the United States," said Tim Shea, acting DEA administrator. "Multiple overdose deaths have been directly linked to his drugs."

United States authorities allege that at his peak, McCann was importing more than 10 kilograms of fentanyl and over 300,000 counterfeit Xanax pills monthly.

Law enforcement officials seized over $6.5 million in cash and virtual currency, in addition to 500 kilograms of drugs, the Justice Department said. It said pill presses — of which more than a dozen were seized during the operation — were used to manufacture counterfeit tablets.

McCann was known under several identities on the dark web according to the indictment, including Dr. Xanax and RCQueen, among other aliases.

More than 120 arrests were made in the U.S., two in Canada, 42 in Germany, eight in the Netherlands, four in the United Kingdom, three in Australia and one in Sweden. The Justice Department said its investigation was ongoing and investigators were still working to identify other individuals behind darknet accounts.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2020.

— with files from The Associated Press.

© Kamloops This Week

 


KAMLOOPS WEATHER

Question of the Week POLL

How has the pandemic impacted your Christmas plans from a financial perspective?

or  view results

Popular Kamloops This Week

Events Calendar

Help Us Help Kamloops. Support Local Media.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Kamloops This Week is now soliciting donations from readers. This program is designed to support our local journalism in a time where our advertisers are unable to due to their own economic constraints. Kamloops This Week has always been a free product and will continue to be free. This is a means for those who can afford to support local media to help ensure those who can’t afford to can get access to trusted local information. You can make a one-time or a monthly donation of any amount and cancel at any time .

NEW: For every donation of $25 or greater, we will offer a digital advertising package to the local non-profit group of your choice.

Click on https://support.kamloopsthisweek.com for more information or to make your donation.

Thank you in advance for your support.