Two former young men from Cedar Falls, who were arrested for buying and selling elephant tranquilizers on the dark web, have been sentenced. The two bought what they believed were prescription tablets on the dark web but later learned the pills contained carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer.
Evan Paul Sage, 20, and Cameron James Lensmeyer, 21, who are currently living in Waverly, admitted to selling hundreds of thousands of pills, which they bought on a dark web marketplace called ‘AlphaBay’ using virtual currencies. They also pleaded to trafficking cocaine, carfentanil, marijuana, fentanyl, and being in possession of an unlicensed firearm in the U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids early in May.
According to filed court documents, on June 30 last year, detectives with the Tri-County Drug Enforcement Task Force on warrant raided the home of the two in Cedar Rapids at 1221 Tremont Ave., where they seized drugs and a .32-caliber Ceska Zbrojovka – a laser pointer Praha pistol. They found more than 800 blue tablets which resembled oxycodone pills, ammunition, 600 grams of packed marijuana, 30 grams of cocaine, four digital weighing scales, and over $20,000 in cash.
On testing the seized blue pills that appeared to be oxycodone, it was discovered that 70 percent of the tablets contained carfentanil, while the rest contained cyclopropyl, a synthetic fentanyl.
Carfentanil is a strong and powerful analog of the synthetic opioid analgesic fentanyl which is used as an elephant tranquilizer and is not approved for human consumption. It is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times stronger than fentanyl, which is more potent than heroin. 10 grams of pure carfentanil, is said to be enough to overdose about 5,000,000 people…scary!
According to Dan Chatham, the US Attorney who displayed a real oxycodone painkiller pill and a darknet market pill containing carfentanil; the tablets had an almost similar appearance. “Fake prescription drugs have increased recently by a significant margin. Unless a genuine health service provider prescribes your medications, you might be deceived as drug dealers have learned to fake common prescription drugs. Drugs bought from our street or online often contain other substances which could be more dangerous than the buyer would think,” he said, “These pills can quickly kill. Just one mistake, especially with carfentanil, and you end up with dead bodies.”
Both the defense attorney and the prosecutor agreed to the possibility that the two did not know exactly what the pills they traded contained. However, Judge Reade Linda at U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids said that was ignorance on their part and a mere excuse, as she gave her judgment on Wednesday. “Ignorance is no excuse in law. You cannot use that in defense,” she said.
Sage had pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine, marijuana, and carfentanil with intent to distribute as well as possession of an unsilenced firearm. He was sentenced for a seven year and one-month jail term preceded by five years parole. Lensmeyer who also pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and carfentanil was sentenced to four years, four months in jail and a three-year probation.