Two people were arrested for conspiring to sell deadly synthetic drugs online following a raid in Long Island City Tuesday morning, according to federal prosecutors in New Jersey.
Brian Parker, of Long Island City, is accused of using two websites to distribute the so-called designer drugs he manufactured with the help of Victoria Koleski, of Farmingdale, New Jersey, and other unnamed conspirators, prosecutors said.
Several agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration, some wearing hazmat suits, could be seen taking boxes labeled “evidence” out of Parker’s apartment building on Center Boulevard Tuesday morning.
Parker specifically made and sold three designer drugs that have chemical structures and hallucinogenic effects similar to Schedule I controlled substances, according to prosecutors, including U-47700, a synthetic opioid that is more potent than morphine.
Authorities started investigating Parker, 34, after substances he sold were linked to an overdose death in Madison, Wisconsin, in May 2016, prosecutors said.
Inside the victim’s home, investigators found several packages that contained vials of U-47700 and had order invoices from one of Parker’s websites, according to a criminal complaint. An autopsy of the 37-year-old man, who prosecutors did not identify, later confirmed he had died of an overdose on a combination of U-47700 and Etizolam, a synthetic depressant, the complaint said.
An investigation revealed that Parker would have Koleski, 29, and the other conspirators order the raw materials needed to create the synthetic drugs from places like China, prosecutors said. Once the raw materials arrived in the mail, Koleski would repackage them and send them to Parker in Long Island City, who would then manufacture the materials into the designer drugs. But instead of sending them straight from his apartment, prosecutors said Parker would transport the finished product back to Koleski, who would send out the shipments, completing the online orders.
Between June 30 and July 5, 2017, Koleski mailed 218 parcels from a Farmingdale post office, prosecutors said, many of which contained the synthetic drugs that Parker had sold through his websites. The seizure of about 75 of those packages revealed the pair were also selling A-PHP, also known as Flakka, and 3-MEO-PCP, which is similar to PCP, according to prosecutors.
Parker also used social media sites, including Reddit, to talk about his drug operation, the complaint said.
Koleski and Parker are facing charges of conspiring to distribute controlled substance analogues, as well as distributing and possessing with the intent to distribute U-47700, A-PHP, and 3-MEO-PCP, according to prosecutors. They were both due in Newark federal court later Tuesday.
Parker has at least two prior narcotics-related convictions.
In September 2007, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute anabolic steroids in Georgia. He also pleaded guilty in June 2011 to 15 counts of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, conspiracy to commit the same, and failure to register a manufacturing facility after selling prescription drugs online without a license in Pennsylvania, according to the complaint.