Jeremy P. Achey, a 43 year old man from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was convicted in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida of conspiracy to distribute and distribution of controlled substance analogues. Achey was the last person to run the AlphaBay vendor account known as EtiKing. The AlphaBay vendor account EtiKing, along with a large amount of furanyl fentanyl, was sold to Achey for $400 by a man who would go on to become an informant for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). This informant helped law enforcement agents find and arrest Achey. Law enforcement agents arrested Achey in June of last year and a federal grand jury indicted Achey back in July of last year. Achey was arrested after law enforcement agents surveilled him and his wife ship packages. Achey’s wife was never charged for shipping drugs through the mail. Last year a federal judge in Allentown, Pennsylvania ordered Achey be sent to Florida to stand trial.
Achey faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years up to life in federal prison. He will soon face a sentencing hearing, which is currently scheduled to be held on April 13th. Law enforcement became aware of EtiKing after a 24 year old woman from Orange County, Florida fatally overdosed in February of last year on a combination of drugs, tetrahydrofuran fentanyl and etizolam, purchased from EtiKing through AlphaBay. The woman’s fiancé had also overdosed on the same combination of drugs, but not fatally. The fiancé worked with law enforcement to help prosecute EtiKing. Prosecutors claim 20 overdose deaths occurred from people who ingested drugs sold by EtiKing. The law enforcement agencies which helped investigate and prosecute Achey include the Pennsylvania State Police, the Orange County, Florida Sheriff’s Office, the DEA, the US Postal Inspection Service, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations.
EtiKing had sold many research chemicals such as etizolam, furanyl fentanyl, tetrahydrofuran fentanyl, 4-ACO-DMT, 6-APB, among other drugs. “Tetrahydrofuranfentanyl is a synthetic opiate. It is not currently a scheduled substance. No determination has yet been made as to whether tetrahydrofuranfentanyl is a controlled substance analogue,” the criminal complaint which was filed in July of last year stated. When the criminal complaint was originally filed against Achey, it was noted that tetrahydrofuran fentanyl was not determined to be considered an analog of a Schedule I or Schedule II drug. However, the prosecution successfully argued that the drug was an analog of the Schedule II drug fentanyl, which may be the first time this particular fentanyl analog was ruled to fall under the 1986 Federal Analogue Act.
Under the Federal Analogue Act of 1986 any drug which is not scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act is considered to be scheduled if it is sold for human or animal consumption and is substantially structurally and pharmacologically similar to a drug that is listed in Schedule I or Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act. Law enforcement agents were able to use the fiancé of the dead 24 year old Florida woman to send messages to EtiKing in which they were able to prove the vendor knew his customers were buying his drugs for the purpose of human consumption. EtiKing even advised his customers that they could use his fentanyl analogs by snorting, smoking, and injecting them.
Prosecutors declined to charge Achey for selling the etizolam which contributed to the death of the 24 year old Florida woman, or for the ALD-52 and 6-APB he had sent to government agents who did controlled buys over AlphaBay and through the mail. Achey was prosecuted for the 4-ACO-DMT that he mailed to government agents who did a controlled buy over AlphaBay. 4-ACO-DMT is considered to be an analog of the Schedule I drugs DMT and psilocin. Interestingly, law enforcement agents did not attempt to make a controlled purchase of any opioids from EtiKing, despite the fact that he continued to sell them even after he was made aware of the fact that at least one customer fatally overdosed. Instead law enforcement agents attempted to purchase psychedelic drugs like LSD and MDMA/MDA, but instead received similar drugs ALD-52 and 6-APB.