Online black market drugs shipped directly to Miami Valley mail boxes from overseas

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Loophole in law allows fentanyl, synthetic analogues to slip through postal service.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Loophole in law allows fentanyl, other deadly synthetic opioids to slip through postal service.

When Scotty Mays craved opiates, he didn’t meet a local dealer in a dark alley.

Instead, he had an acquaintance navigate to a dark spot on the Internet and place an order anonymously with an overseas outfit.

“Basically you just need a little computer knowledge and some money,” said Mays, 41, who with another ordered bulk packages of pain pills.

“We would have it shipped to a vacant house. Nobody would be living there, but the post office didn’t know that.”

Officials say overseas shippers — many from China — are exploiting a loophole in U.S. law that allows packages to enter this country through the mail virtually unchecked.

Read the full report:

How illicit drugs mailed from overseas reach the Miami Valley now at MyDaytonDailyNews.com and in the Sunday Dayton Daily News print edition. Tune in Sunday, Feb. 19 to WHIO Reports at 11:30 a.m. to hear Scotty Mays talk more about recovering from addiction.

“You could get anything you wanted on the dark web. Anything. And that’s no exaggeration,” said Mays, who has been clean a year after a 16-year addiction.

Nearly a million packages a day enter the U.S. Postal Service system from other countries, and more than 90 percent of them come without advanced electronic data — the shipper’s name and address, a description of the contents and a package’s weight — that law enforcement says could help stem the flow of drugs from overseas labs.

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Any number of prescription pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs  can be purchased online.

Credit: Bob Andres

Any number of prescription pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs  can be purchased online.

Credit: Bob Andres

caption arrowCaption
Any number of prescription pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs  can be purchased online.

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

Mays’ drugs typically arrived inside Manila envelopes.

“They definitely had some Asian writing on there,” he said. “I couldn’t tell you what the return address was or anything like that.”

His standard order of 190 Percocets cost $200. On the street, a single pill might go for $30, he said.

Ordering the pills online was “a way better deal.”

Mays and the acquaintance rotated the orders to about a half-dozen vacant dwellings.

Collecting the drugs was always tense, he said.

“It’s a very scary situation … there’s adrenaline, there’s anxiety,” Mays said. “The drive home, you’re looking through your rear-view mirror. Everybody’s a cop.”

Mays said he’s lucky. Many of his friends are dead.

“Did it cross my mind it could have been laced with something that could have killed me? Briefly,” he said. “But I also had that mentality that that’s not going to happen to me, just like every other drug addict.”

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