Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Pittsburgh Man Purchased Alprazolam on the DarkNet for Distribution, Illegally Possessed Guns and Ammo

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of attempted possession with intent to distribute alprazolam and possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

James Robert Czachowski, 22, pleaded guilty to two counts before Senior United States District Court Judge Donetta W. Ambrose.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that, in April 2018, agents interdicted an international express parcel addressed to the defendant with a return address in the United Kingdom. Pursuant to extended border search authority, agents opened the package which contained 11,000 pills consistent with the size and shape of Xanax.

On April 11, 2018, United States Postal Inspectors made a controlled delivery of the parcel as addressed. The defendant’s father signed for the package. As the defendant’s father removed the package from the residence, but before he could deliver it to his son, agents stopped the defendant’s father, who stated that the package was to be delivered to his son at an address in Pittsburgh. The defendant contacted his father on the phone while his father was with the agents. The agents overheard the defendant ask his father whether he left yet and if everything was OK. Agents then went to the defendant’s residence.

The defendant admitted to investigators that he had purchased narcotics over the DarkNet for approximately one year. He admitted that he paid $4,200 for 10,000 Xanax bars and that he intended to sell them for $1.50 per bar. The defendant gave permission to search his residence and admitted to possessing a .22 revolver. A .380 9mm revolver, a Springfield XD 9mm and numerous rounds of ammunition were recovered, as well. As a result of a prior felony conviction, the defendant is prohibited from possessing firearms and/or ammunition.

Judge Ambrose scheduled sentencing for July 22, 2019. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 30 years in prison, a fine of $2,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Shanicka L. Kennedy is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The United States Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations and Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Czachowski.

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