July 18, 2017
A Philadelphia man is facing charges of importing and distributing a deadly dose of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, allegedly conducting international sales using the dark web marketplace AlphaBay, federal prosecutors announced following an arraignment last week.
Henry Konah Koffie, 32, of Darby, drew the attention of federal investigators after two fatal fentanyl overdoses were reported in Portland, Oregon, back in May. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service traced the source of the drug to a prolific AlphaBay vendor known as "NARCOBOSS."
AlphaBay, a Tor Network marketplace, was shut down last week amid an international crackdown by law enforcement agencies in the U.S., Canada and China. Its co-founder, 26-year-old Alexandre Cazes, was found dead in a Bangkok jail cell over the weekend and is believed to have taken his own life.
Investigators in the Portland cases determined that the shipments of fentanyl had come from a Philadelphia-area address. An examination of AlphaBay transactions revealed that NARCOBOSS previously sold fentanyl falsely advertised as "China White Heroin" under the moniker "DNMKINGPIN," which was connected to another non-fatal Portland overdose in May of 2016.
Between July 2016 and June 2017, NARCOBOSS allegedly completed more than 3,700 AlphaBay transactions for a “China White Synthetic Heroin Fentanyl Mix." The quantity of drugs totaled more than 7 kilograms and generated $284,000 worth of bitcoin.
A financial analysis of the transactions linked the NARCOBOSS account to Koffie, prosecutors said. The account had also been targeted for investigations in western Pennsylvania and North Dakota.
During the last year, Koffie allegedly had more than 14 packages of suspected fentanyl originating in China and Hong Kong shipped to the addresses of family members.
Fentanyl, often mixed with batches of heroin, is intended for use as an anesthetic or prescribed as a patch for chronic pain management. Up to 100 times more powerful than morphine, its potency can mask the danger of misrepresented heroin, leading to much more severe reactions and overdoses.
Search warrants executed at Koffie's residence earlier this month allegedly turned up about 500 grams of suspected fentanyl, documents related to distribution, a binding agent used in pill production, scales and various incriminating bank statements. Seizures from connected accounts resulted in the collection of approximately $137,000.
The case is being jointly investigated by PPB; USPIS; FBI; the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the District of Oregon, Western District of Pennsylvania, District of North Dakota and Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force; Philadelphia Police Department and the Oregon/Idaho and Philadelphia/Camden High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA)Task Forces.
Scott Kerin, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, will prosecute the case.