Two Montgomery County men are accused of using the dark web to purchase and sell dangerous drugs from China strong enough to tranquilize elephants.
Jamil Chapman, 26, and Nasai Chapman, 23, of Collingdale were arrested for allegedly trafficking fentanyl and the even deadlier carfentanil. Investigators say the men ordered, purchased and shipped the drugs from China to homes in Lower Merion and Upper Merion townships.
“Fentanyl is cheap and deadly, since it’s 50 times stronger than heroin,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said. “But as dangerous as fentanyl is, carfentanil is substantially more dangerous since it’s a drug developed to tranquilize a three-ton elephant. It’s 100 times more potent than fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than morphine.”
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The arrests were the result of a nine-month investigation that involved several law enforcement agencies including Lower Merion Township Police, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Office of Homeland Security Investigations.
During the investigation, officials seized approximately 300 grams of fentanyl while an additional 400 to 500 grams of carfentanil were documented as having been ordered and shipped from China, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
The investigation began in June of 2017 after Jamil Chapman overdosed on heroin at a Lower Merion apartment and was later treated at the hospital, according to a criminal complaint. Police returned to the same apartment in September and found fentanyl and carfentanil inside, investigators said. It was the first time investigators found evidence of carfentanil trafficking in Montgomery County, according to Steele.
Detectives later learned the Chapmans were expecting an incoming shipment from China, according to officials. Homeland Security investigators intercepted a package at JFK International Airport on Oct. 25 that was destined for an Upper Merion Township apartment linked to the Chapmans, police said.
Investigators later determined the package contained 99 grams of fentanyl. A second package intercepted on Nov. 14 at JFK International contained 200 grams of fentanyl, according to officials.
Officials also say the Chapmans made seven other purchases from China between May and September of 2017 totaling 400 to 500 grams of carfentanil. Most of the packages were delivered to the apartments in Lower Merion and Upper Merion while two were delivered to Philadelphia addresses.
“Thanks to strong law enforcement collaboration led by District Attorney Kevin Steele, two drug dealers selling fentanyl and carfentanil – fatal poison – that was purchased on the Dark Web and shipped from China are behind bars,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “We’ll continue to be relentless in taking these criminals off our streets and battling the heroin and opioid epidemic across Pennsylvania."
Both men are charged with operating a corrupt organization, possession with intent to deliver, criminal attempt at possession with intent to deliver and other related offenses. They were arraigned and remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility after they both failed to post $250,000 cash bail.