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Students used Bitcoin and darknet to traffic drugs, prosecutor says

The Athens County Prosecutor’s Office arrested an Iowa man who reportedly traded narcotics with college students over the dark web.

Anthony Scott Boeckholt, 42, was charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Boeckholt sent several large shipments of drugs to two college students, who sold the drugs in Athens County, according to a news release from Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn.

The investigation leading to Boeckholt’s arrest began when the two students were arrested. Investigators learned the students were allegedly using code names and Bitcoin to trade drugs over the dark web. The Athens County Prosecutor’s Office executed multiple search warrants and arrested Boeckholt in Iowa.

The dark web — which is Internet content that is accessible only through darknets, or overlay networks that require specific software — and cryptocurrency like Bitcoin allow dealers to make transactions without a trace, according to the release. 

“This means anything purchased on the dark web may not be what it appears, leading to fentanyl laced narcotics and other more severe substances,” Blackburn said in the release.

The investigation has linked drugs purchased through the dark web to at least two student overdoses at Ohio University in 2017.

“The crisis is real and we must remain vigilant to the changing ways of drug dealers. Let this be a message that we will go wherever we need to find drug dealers and put them behind bars,” Blackburn said in the release.

Boeckholt is imprisoned in Iowa and will be extradited to Athens. Engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity is a first-degree felony, so Boeckholt faces a maximum fine of $20,000 and a maximum prison sentence of three to 10 years if convicted.

Blackburn expects charges to be filed against more people in both Iowa and Ohio.


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