Another investigation has linked drugs in Athens County to the dark web.

The Athens County Sheriff’s Office and the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office discovered more than $30,000 in cash, along with two “elaborate” marijuana grow rooms, multiple pounds of packaged marijuana and more than 400 Oxycodone pills at a home in Athens County, according to a news release from Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn. 

The Oxycodone pills were purchased on the dark web, Blackburn said in the release. Accessible only through darknets, or overlay networks requiring specific software, the dark web allows dealers to use cryptocurrency like Bitcoin to make transactions without leaving a trace.

The sheriff's office and prosecutor's office executed a search warrant Wednesday at a residence on Echo Lane, near U.S. Rt. 50/32. 

Paul Hamilton, 34, who lives at the Echo Lane residence, was arrested and charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony. Hamilton is incarcerated at the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail on a $500,000 bond. 

“Our office is driven to eliminate large suppliers of narcotics while helping those individuals suffering from (addiction),” Blackburn wrote in the news release. “Together with the Athens County Sheriff’s Office, we have made another arrest of individuals who are using the dark web to purchase drugs for distribution in Athens County.”

In early February, the prosecutor’s office arrested an Iowa man who reportedly traded narcotics with college students over the dark web. The investigation linked drugs purchased through the dark web to at least two student overdoses at Ohio University in 2017.


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