A Florida man has been sentenced to three years in prison for selling at least 249,700 counterfeit Xanax and prescription pills on the Darknet.

Benjamin Burdick, 55, has been accused of manufacturing counterfeit prescription drugs at his Florida residence and sold at least 249,700 counterfeit Xanax pills through online hidden marketplaces between April 2019 and October 2020.

Burdick reportedly used a pill press to produce tainted tablets at his residence and stamp the medication with the letters "Xanax" to seem real. The pills that Burdick mass-produced contained unregulated substances such as flualprazolam, etizolam, adinazolam, and microcrystalline cellulose in addition to a substance called alprazolam, which genuine Xanax contains, the Free Press reported.

His partner, Catilynkyrie Burdick, 29, of Inverness, has also been taken into custody along with Burdick. They are both being held in the Citrus County Detention Facility without bond.

Undercover federal agents reportedly purchased multiple packages of counterfeit pills from Burdick from the dark web using cryptocurrency between June 2019 and August 2020. Following this, they obtained a search warrant from the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations signed by a United States Magistrate out of the Middle District of Florida.

When the investigators searched Burdick's home at 3766 South Susan Point in Inverness in October 2020, they reportedly recovered several pieces of pill manufacturing, distribution, and sales equipment including a pill press, pill binder mixer, USPS mail envelopes, USPS shipping boxes, an Accupost scale, vacuum sealer, a bag containing 5 kilograms of pill binder, and a digital scale with several cups and bowls that contained a white powdery residue, according to the United States Department of Justice.

They also reportedly discovered numerous Ziploc and vacuum-sealed bags containing counterfeit Xanax pills and white pills stamped with G7322, which is marketed as prescription Alprazolam. In addition to this, approximately 16,000 other counterfeit pills in various sizes and bags were located during the search. They also seized almost US$150,000 in sales from the vending of counterfeit drugs online.

Six firearms and miscellaneous ammunition were also recovered from the residence.

“By selling counterfeit drugs through the Darknet, the defendant recklessly endangered the community and placed his own personal gain over the health and safety of the public,” Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said.

"The counterfeit pills that Burdick was selling online could have deadly consequences in our communities across the country,” Robert E. Bornstein, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division said.

A Florida man has been sentenced to three years in prison for selling at least 249,700 counterfeit Xanax and prescription pills on the Dark Net. This is a representational image. Pixabay

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