Alphabay Vendor “OlympusXans” Admits Selling Xanax and Fentanyl
A former darknet market vendor pleaded guilty to an alprazolam, methamphetamine, and cocaine trafficking conspiracy in Madison county, Alabama. According to the plea agreement, the man had been in possession of roughly 80,000 so-called “units” of alprazolam at the time of his arrest.
Joseph William Davis, a 25-year-old from Madison county, Alabama, admitted selling tens of thousands of doses of counterfeit Xanax pills, fentanyl pills, methamphetamine, and cocaine from locations in Madison county and in Cullman county. Court documents revealed that Davis had been selling the drugs—primarily counterfeit alprazolam pills—on the Alphabay darknet market. The documents also revealed that Davis sold under the pseudonym “OlympusXans” aka OX.”
The investigation into OlympusXans focused primarily on the darknet vendor’s activities that occurred between 2016 and the fall of Alphabay and Hansa in 2017. The United States Postal Inspection Service gathered a massive amount of the material evidence that led to Davis’ arrest and recent conviction. Even though the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) had gathered ample evidence to secure an arrest and likely conviction after cracking down on OlympusXans packages in 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Davis easier this year.
According to U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, Davis pleaded guilty to conspiracy drug trafficking and to possessing multiple firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. At the time of his arrest, Davis had two firearms in his possession: a Bushmaster Carbon 15 and a Glock 22 (a rifle and a pistol). The indictment accused Davis of drug trafficking crimes on specific dates in March 2017 when he had possessed substances with intent to distribute or intended to possess with intent to distribute.
To highlight the role played by USPIS, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Inspector in Charge, Adrian Gonzalez announced the guilty plea alongside U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town. “Dangerous life-threatening drugs have no place in the U.S. Mail,” the USPIS Inspector in Charge said. “This case should serve as a deterrent by reminding criminals that postal inspectors and their law enforcement partners continuously strive to keep the U.S. Mail safe.”
For instance, according to the Inspector in Charge, USPIS intercepted a package in March 2017 that contained more than 10,000 counterfeit Xanax pills. The package had been shipped to a Madison County address that Davis controlled. Other packages intercepted the same month contained additional quantities of alprazolam pills but in far smaller batches. The next largest package contained 611 pills. A package of 602 pills followed. The 602-pill package was different, though.
According to the indictment, at least one package of pills contained unidentified “fentanyl pills.” The documents failed to specify the branding on the pills. Given OlympusXans’ role as a Xanax vendor, the fentanyl pills had likely taken the form of counterfeit Xanax pills instead of oxycodone pills (even though selling a potent opioid as a benzodiazepine seems counterintuitive for a popular Xanax vendor). Since he never had the opportunity to receive the fentanyl pills, it is not known if Davis routinely distributed potentially legal batches of alprazolam pills or if the interception merely represented an awful batch of pills from Davis’ supplier.
Another package of counterfeit Xanax pills was intercepted en route to a location Davis controlled in Cullman County, according to the indictment. Davis is also accused of possessing both methamphetamine and cocaine with intent to distribute in both Madison and Cullman counties. According to the information provided in the plea agreement (for the sake of sentencing), Davis possessed with the intent to distribute “more than 80,000 units of Alprazolam,” 40 or more grams of fentanyl, only 50 grams of methamphetamine, and not even three grams of cocaine.
Even though the “units” of alprazolam possessed by Davis neared 100,000, the 40 or more grams of fentanyl and 50 grams of methamphetamine dictated the sentencing portion of the plea agreement. Conspiracy distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison. Conspiracy fentanyl charges are similar. The distribution with intent for alprazolam and cocaine did not carry mandatory minimums. However, possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime carries a mandatory minimum of five years imprisonment.
Sentencing is scheduled for December 19 before U.S. District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala.