College Students Sold Drugs Supplied Via the Dark Web

By Keri Blakinger 02/08/18

An Iowa man reportedly sold the drugs to the Ohio college students in exchange for bitcoin.


An Iowa man is facing felony charges after he was collared for allegedly selling drugs to college students in bitcoin drugs deals on the dark web.

Anthony Scott Boeckholt was arrested at his home on Jan. 29 after prosecutors say he sold "many large shipments of narcotics and other drugs" to a pair of Ohio college students over a two-year period starting in January 2016, according to ABC News.

Though the 42-year-old Forest City man’s alleged reliance on the dark web made the deals harder to trace, authorities eventually linked the investigation to two fatal overdoses at Ohio University in 2017.

"The secretive nature of the dark web and cryptocurrency allows huge drug deals to be made without a trace," Athens County prosecutor Keller Blackburn said in a statement. "This means that anything purchased on the dark web may not be what it appears, leading to fentanyl-laced narcotics and other more severe substances."

The probe kicked off after two Athens college students arrested for drug trafficking admitted to using the dark web to buy and sell illicit substances online, according to USA Today. Investigators pored through mail and messages between the two students and the suspected drug dealer and eventually got a search warrant for Boeckholt’s home.

Following his arrest, Boeckholt was held in Iowa awaiting extradition to Ohio, according to authorities. He was later indicted on charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, aggravated trafficking in drugs, and money laundering, according to WTAP. At the same time, an Ohio grand jury indicted 26-year-old Tyler Strand of Iowa in connection with the case. He’s still at large.

The Buckeye State has been particularly hard hit by the opioid overdose epidemic. More than 4,000 Ohioans died of opioid overdoses in 2016, according to state health data. The state came in second in overdoses per capita, with roughly 39 deaths per 100,000 people, according to CDC figures.

"Ohio is in the middle of an opiate crisis, and this suspect in Iowa was using college kids to traffic thousands of dollars in narcotics," Blackburn said.

It’s not clear exactly how many illicit drug deals Boeckholt is believed to have brokered, or the total volume of the substances in question, or which drugs he allegedly sold. But prosecutors said that more people in both states are expected to be charged in the ongoing case. The Forest City Police Department, Fairfield-Hocking-Athens Major Crimes Unit and Athens County Prosecutor’s Office all pitched in on the case.  

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.