An affidavit written by a Homeland Security Investigations special agent revealed new information in the investigation into a couple arrested after an international drug investigation.
On Apr. 26, ICE Homeland Security Investigators and the Drug Enforcement Administration conducted a raid on South Church Street, arresting two individuals suspected of trafficking the synthetic opioid U-47700, or "Pink."
Agents confirmed the arrests of 28-year-old Theodore Vitaliy Khleborod and Ana Milena Barrero, 24, who are accused of selling the drug on the darknet under the alias "PeterTheGreat" and using the U.S. postal service to distribute it throughout the country.
According to agents, the investigation into Khleborod and Barrero was prompted by the death of an 18-year-old in Portland, Oregon.
The affidavit states the victim, Aisha Kathleen Zughbieh-Collins, was found after an overdose with one gram of U-47700, a notepad and a pregnancy test. According to Grand Jury indictments, Barrero is accused of buying pregnancy tests at dollar stores to disguise the drug during shipment. The affidavit states she purchased 71 pregnancy tests at one time in February.
She is also accused of spending $96 on other items including knee wraps and heat patches for mailing the opioid.
While investigating the packaging found at Zughbieh-Collins' residence, the special agent said investigators learned the package entered the mail system at a Greenville facility. The agent said the return addresses on packages sent by the couple were fake, but shipping labels were sent to an e-mail address traced back to Barrero and Khleborod.
According to the affidavit, a package sent to Kheleborod in November 2016 was seized by customs and contained 1,015 grams of U-47700. A cell phone number connected to drug shipments was one Kheleborod had previously given to police during an encounter, the affidavit states.
The special agent said the pair used bitcoins to purchase postage online and mailed U-47700 in one-gram packages.
On Apr. 24, an undercover ICE agent purchased U-47700 online from vendor "PeterTheGreat," the affidavit states. The following day, special agents said they seized 52 parcels of U-47700 were seized, two of which were addressed to the undercover agent.
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