Darknet News

Fake Xanax Buyer Admits to Purchasing 630,000 Pills Over Dark Web

A US man accused of purchasing 630,000 counterfeit Xanax and other pills from darknet markets pleaded guilty to related charges against him in federal court on Thursday, June 15th. Maximillian Gregory Verbowski, 28, of Seattle, purchased the pills from one particular darknet market vendor between Oct 2019 and Aug 2021, buying them in bulk quantities for resale purposes. The pills were shipped to post office boxes opened by Verbowski under various aliases which were ultimately traced back to his name.
According to court documents, Verbowski purchased the drugs from a darknet market vendor named TheBenzoBoys who imported the various benzodiazepine powders from China and pressed them into the shape of popular Xanax (alprazolam) formulations. In addition to alprazolam, the pills also contained bromazolam, clonazolam, and flualprazolam which are non-scheduled substances in the US. The fact pills containing these other substances were printed to look like Xanax is what made them “counterfeit” by legal definition, and thus subjected their sellers to additional charges.

A few of the counts against Verbowski naming the aliases he used to receive orders of counterfeit pills.

Verbowski purchased the pills from TheBenzoBoys using both Bitcoin and cash, sometimes using the encrypted messaging app Wickr to arrange orders. The vendor, whose name appears only as “B.A.” in the indictment against Verbowski, is said to have resided in the state of Missouri, where he used a pill press machine that was capable of “a production rate of 16,200 pills per hour.” He also obtained custom pill stamps that made his pills “substantially indistinguishable” from Xanax, even though they often contained active ingredients other than alprazolam.
The charges against Verbowski include conspiracy to sell a counterfeited drug, sale of a counterfeited drug, and use of a fictitious name on mail to commit a crime; the last of which carries the heftiest sentence of a maximum 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine.

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