In roughly one year from now, a 23-year-old will appear in court for a jury trial in an unusually large Xanax distribution case. According to the indictment, the suspected darkweb drug dealer earned hundreds of thousands of dollars dollars in Bitcoin by pressing and selling Alprazolam bars.
Stephan Caamano, 23, was caught after the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated dozens of return-to-sender packages of Xanax that random citizens discovered in their mailboxes after Caamano had allegedly failed to apply the proper postage to the pack.
In some cases, the DEA would question the intended recipients of the packages about the source of the product. One individual explained that he had paid a darkweb vendor $14,000 for thousands of alprazolam pills. In another episode, the DEA recorded more than 80,000 pressed alprazolam pills in a total of four packages.
The mail carrier who regularly emptied four mail-collection boxes near [Caamano’s address] reported that each day for more than a year, he picked up between 50 and 100 manila envelopes — so many that he complained to superiors in March 2017 that it was making it hard for him to complete his duties. Capital Gazette
He attempted to exchange hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bitcoin for gold bullion on at least two occasions.
The defendant attended the University of California before moving to Illinois for the University of Illinois.
URBANA, Ill. – A Champaign, Ill., man, Stephan Caamano, 23, appeared in federal court in Urbana today for arraignment on charges that he allegedly trafficked quantities of pills containing alprazolam, marked as ‘Xanax,’ and laundered proceeds of the alleged drug trafficking. Caamano, of the 1500 block of Glenshire Drive, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric I. Long. Trial in the case is scheduled on Nov. 13, 2019, before U.S. District Judge Sara Darrow.
The superseding indictment returned by the grand jury on Oct. 2 alleges that from March 2017 to May 2018, Caamano trafficked quantities of pills containing alprazolam, marked as ‘Xanax,’ knowing it was not the drug Xanax manufactured by Pfizer. In addition, Caamano is charged with two counts of distribution of alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance, and four counts of money laundering related to monetary transactions involving proceeds of the alleged drug trafficking. The charged transactions involved payment of Bitcoin in exchange for gold bullion on two occasions - April 12, 2017 and June 9, 2017; a wire transfer in the amount of $235,500 on or about July 31, 2017; and, the transfer of funds on Aug. 30, 2017, by personal check to a car dealership in the amount of $25,936.
Caamano was previously arrested and charged by complaint on May 29, 2018. Following Caamano’s initial appearance on the complaint, Judge Long ordered that Caamano undergo evaluation for competency. On Sept. 10, 2018, the court found Caamano competent to proceed and he was arraigned on two counts of distribution of alprazolam, charges returned by the grand jury in June. In addition, Caamano was ordered to remain detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, in December 2017, the investigation began when Customs and Border Protection agents contacted DEA agents after seizing items that were allegedly destined for delivery to Caamano at various addresses in California and in the Champaign, Ill., area. The items included pill press machines, machine parts and alprazolam.
The charges are the result of investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Springfield Resident Office; U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security Investigations; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Champaign Police Department Street Crimes Unit and the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel E. Ritzer is prosecuting the case on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois.
If convicted, the maximum statutory penalty for each count of trafficking in a counterfeit drug (one count) and for money laundering (four counts) is 20 years in prison. For distribution of a controlled substance (two counts), the statutory maximum penalty for each count is five years in prison.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
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