3 arrested, counterfeit Xanax seized in largest pill bust in New Jersey history

MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) -- Three people are under arrest and nearly half a million counterfeit Xanax pills were seized in what is thought to be New Jersey's largest pill bust.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced Tuesday the takedown of a drug-selling operation on the dark web that pushed counterfeit Xanax made in New Jersey to customers in 43 states.

The operation, run in part from a cellphone repair shop in Asbury Park, yielded nearly a half million pills -- the largest ever seizure of pills in New Jersey.

Authorities also recovered ingredients, pill presses and thousands of dollars' worth of cryptocurrency. The seized drugs had a street value of $3 million, Vance said, and also included ketamine and heroin laced with fentanyl.

Chester Anderson, 44, and co-conspirators Jarrette Codde, 41, and Ronald Maccarty, 51, have been indicted on charges of conspiracy and money laundering.

Anderson is also charged with multiple counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and identity theft.

Authorities say they laundered more than $2.3 million in proceeds by using the cryptocurrency they received as payment to load pre-paid debit cards, and collectively withdrew more than $1 million from ATMs in Manhattan and New Jersey.

The trio allegedly sold the drugs on a dark web storefront called SinMed.

Vance's office was tipped off in 2017 to noticeably large ATM withdrawals in Manhattan and across the river in New Jersey and tracked the men and their alleged activities from there.

Investigators made undercover drug buys using cryptocurrency.

"Not only is this the first time state prosecutors in New York have taken down a dark web storefront, this takedown represents the largest pill seizure in New Jersey's history. If you are engaging in illicit activity on the dark web, you are on notice: we know how to find you, we know how to put you out of business, and we know how to hold you criminally accountable," Vance said.

Vance said anyone who would like to report crimes on the dark web can call the Cyber hotline at 212-335-9600."

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