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8 arrested in Molly bust
Rochester, N.Y. - Eight people from Rochester have been charged with conspiracy to import and sell the drug known as "molly".
Under arrest are: Joshua Buerman, 25, Michelle Hess, 21, Kevin Willard, 21, Andrew Bosch, 28, Madhu Ashok, 21, Lance Minielly, 23, Jesse James Macaveny, 20 and Rita Levy Panzica, 18.
U.S. Attorney William Hochul announced at a news conference Monday morning that their arrests are part of an international drug ring. He called it one of the most successful international investigations. On Monday, 54 arrests were announced and investigators connected dots in 20 different states and a dozen countries.
"These synthetic drugs are deadly- particularly when mixed together," said U.S. Attorney William Hochul. "Last year, we came before you to announce the threat from bath salts, this summer we were concerned and announced to the public about heroin-phentanol mixture. Methylone, or Molly as it is known, is just another particular substance our community needs to be aware of."
Hochul said the drugs were made in China and imported. Investigators learned from an intercepted email that several methylone shipments were being sent to Rochester last month. The investigation began in the summer of 2012, and with federal wire-taps approved by judges, investigators tracked the activities of at least one known supplier in China.
The eight arrests in the Rochester area appear to be linked to the documented contact that Joshua Buerman, 25, had with the known "Target" in China. The 74-page criminal complaint details dozens of individual transactions conducted via email, Western Union, and the United States Postal Service. In each case, an email dialogue appears to serve as the way Buerman or others "place the order" with follow-up instructions often including a "tracking number" to locate the shipment. The shipment was often sent to different addresses such as various homes or hotels in the Rochester area.
Methylone or "Molly" has become an increasingly popular club drug causing users to experience feelings very similar to ecstasy. A Greece man, Jeffrey Russ, died from a fatal overdose at a New York City music festival recently. Authorities could not say for certain whether the dealings of any accused of crimes in this federal case had any connection or link to substances that contributed to Russ' death.
"This was one of the rare occasions where we were able to infiltrate the head of the snake," said Brian Crowell, the Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency. "This is an organization, we allege, that is buying these chemicals very cheaply out of China over the internet. $1200 per kilogram and the profit they make from selling those...kilos of methylone is $100,000 per kilo.
"We allege the members of this organization were transporting or manufacturing about two kilos of this per month which translates into $200,000 (worth of) pills on the street going to our kids. These pills are going to high school kids and college age kids they are being marketed as 'Molly' or 'MDMA'...it's a synthetic chemical that has no medical use at all. It's extremely dangerous."
Federal authorities said that the risk in taking just one dose of these substances is simply not known to the many users and buyers of these drugs. With a profit-margin of $100-to-1 on each dollar invested, authorities believe the one sure way to stop these dealers is to educate the public and drive down "demand" for these drugs.
"This is very, very dangerous if you are on the road to overdose it's very hard to reverse in our (Emergency Rooms) because basically your blood is going to boil." Crowell said. "If we can wake the kids up and be aware of this stuff, it really is a terrible way for them to die."
"It's really Russian Roulette. You may have gotten a good high five or six times but I'm here to tell you it will only take one time to get a bad batch of this methylone and you'll end up in a hospital or worse yet in a morgue," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Gregory. "This a very dangerous drug, Mollyand the related substance bath salts are very dangerous, you do not know what you're going to get. Your last hit, could be your last hit."