Two charged with trafficking after ordering drugs from dark web

Published 7:34 pm Monday, October 29, 2018

Two men are charged with trafficking methamphetamine this week after receiving drugs through the U.S. Postal Service that were ordered from a website on the so-called “dark web.”

According to a press release from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, on Oct. 26, the BCSO Drug Unit arrested Clayton Edwards, 30, of 306 Eastern St., Greenville, and Nicholas Brown, 40, of 1603 Van Norden St., Washington. Both men were charged with two counts of trafficking in methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

While investigators might usually be able to follow distribution up to a higher level, BCSO Drug Unit Lt. Russell Davenport says that in this case, the drugs were ordered from the dark web, making the transaction nearly impossible to trace. Requiring specialized software to access, this corner of the internet is a hotbed of criminal activity, including drug trafficking, counterfeiting, human trafficking and child pornography.

“The address it was mailed from was a bogus address from California,” Davenport said. “We’re starting to see where money is being handled online, electronically, where we’re not putting our hands on a lot of cash.”

The release states the arrests stemmed from investigators receiving information that Brown and Edwards were involved in the distribution of methamphetamine in Beaufort County and Pitt County. The BCSO learned that Brown was getting the methamphetamine through the U.S. mail and was expecting a package containing methamphetamine to be delivered on Friday.

“Ever since I’ve been working drugs, we’ve always had complaints of people disguising drugs and shipping them through the mail,” Davenport said.

Investigators established surveillance and witnessed the USPS carrier deliver a package to Brown’s residence. The release states that the BCSO witnessed Edwards arrive shortly after the package was delivered and retrieve a black bag from Brown. Upon conducting a vehicle stop on Edwards, investigators found approximately 29 grams of methamphetamine in the black bag. The drugs were in a sealed package disguised as coffee beans.

After obtaining a search warrant for Brown’s residence, investigators found another sealed coffee bean package containing approximately 29 grams of methamphetamine, small plastic bags containing methamphetamine and packaging material used to repack and distribute methamphetamine.

All told, the BCSO seized 73 grams of meth during the bust, with a street value of at least $7,300. The Washington Police Department also provided some assistance during the bust.

Edwards and Brown were both detained in the Beaufort County Detention Center; Edwards under a $50,000 secured bond and Brown under a $60,000 secured bond.