As methamphetamine usage is on the rise in Michigan, so is the importation of a much more pure product from outside the state, a local news outlet says. In 2016 alone, more than a dozen federal search warrants have been issued for such inbound packages. In an unfortunate testament to law enforcement’s growing knowledge of drugs in the mail, a 43-year-old was just arrested for doing just that.
Keith Allen Thorpe, a 43-year-old living in Holland, Michigan was indicted this week on federal methamphetamine conspiracy charges.
Thorpe appeared on law enforcement’s radar once a package containing both methamphetamine and heroin was flagged for inspection in Grand Rapids. The package was sent from Phoenix, Arizona, a spot where a significant amount of meth is shipped from, according to Michigan State Police’s Detective Lt. Andrew Fias. “Crystal meth use is on the rise. We’re seeing an increase and about 90 percent of it is from Mexico,” he says. Most of the mail-related methamphetamine trafficking warrants involved packages originating in states bordering Mexico, such as Arizona, Texas and California.
Once the package was flagged, the West Michigan Enforcement Team met with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to investigate the case. The Postal Inspectors point out that the package was an Express Mail pack and that both Express Mail and Priority Mail options seem to be the most commonly used to traffic narcotics.
In the initial complaint by a U.S. Postal Inspector, Mark Rossi, he says “individuals who mail and receive controlled substances and their proceeds by mail often use a fictitious or incomplete name or address in order to hide their true identity.’’
This is exactly what Thorpe had done. The package was addressed to a woman who told authorities she no longer lived at the Holland address, and was not expecting any mail. She “believed someone may be using her name to conduct some ‘funny business.’’
After package interception, the crystal methamphetamine and heroin were removed and replaced with look-alike substances. The meth was replaced with simple rock salt.
Law enforcement posed as a postal courier and delivered the package to the house the package was addressed to. There they were able to confirm the identity of Keith Allen Thorpe as he opened the door and accepted the package.
Shortly after the delivery, Thorpe was apprehended entering his car and a sweep of his residence was conducted. Inside, the search team found evidence that confirmed their suspicions of drug trafficking, federal court records show.
While the case was initially filed by the local county prosecutor’s office, it has since been turned over to federal law enforcement. Interstate trafficking charges related to methamphetamine could result in up to 20 years in a federal prison.
The notes made by investigators were interesting; fake names and express shipping clearly stand out. Dark Net Market 101?