By Alfa · Jul 25, 2004 ·
  1. Alfa

    A man arrested in a nationwide crackdown on illegal Internet drug
    sales has been linked to one overdose death, a near fatality in
    Norfolk and numerous sales to Hampton Roads Navy personnel, federal
    agents announced Thursday. The Drug Enforcement Administration
    released the results of "Operation Web Tryp," an investigation that
    targeted Internet sites selling "research chemicals" that were
    actually generic equivalents of hallucinogenic drugs such as Ecstasy
    and Foxy Moxy.

    Part of the dragnet was the result of an investigation launched more
    than two years ago by Navy investigators in Norfolk into the sale of
    so-called designer drugs.

    Three men, including two sailors, were convicted and are in prison as
    a result of the investigation.

    That case led to Wednesday's arrest of David Linder, 50, of Arizona
    on a warrant from Norfolk's federal court charging him with conspiracy
    to distribute Foxy.

    Linder is expected to be extradited to Norfolk to face the charge.
    Although charged only with the drug offense, Linder could face more
    serious charges when a federal grand jury begins hearing evidence in
    the April 2002 overdose of an 18-year-old man in Hancock, N.Y., who
    died after consuming a "research chemical " obtained from Linder's Web
    site, the DEA said. Agents said they also have evidence of three other
    people who became violently ill, in Hampton Roads and elsewhere, after
    obtaining drugs from the site. Linder operated a Web site called, which sold landscaping supplies. A hyperlink on the
    site led to a page titled "Research Chemicals," according to a
    complaint filed against Linder in federal court. That Web page offered
    for sale a variety of chemicals, each developed to mimic the effects
    of Ecstasy and other hallucinogens, the complaint says. The Web site
    was active as of Monday but has since been shut down. The site also
    offered a naturally occurring plant substance called Harmine, which
    alone is harmless but which, when mixed with another chemical, forms a
    powerful hallucinogenic called Ayahuasca, first used by South American
    indigenous people, DEA officials said.

    Federal agents and prosecutors in Norfolk declined to comment on the
    case, but a DEA official in Washington said Operation Web Tryp should
    signal to other Internet drug pushers that they could be put out of
    business as well. "The Internet has become the street corner for many
    users and traffickers," DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy said in a
    statement Thursday. "Today's action will hopefully prevent future
    deaths and overdoses." Besides Linder, eight other suspects were
    arrested this week in New York, Georgia and California. Six Web sites
    have been shut down, and agents are tracing customer e-mails to those
    who purchased chemicals from those sites. Linder is accused of
    supplying chemicals to Richard L. Klecker, a former sailor who told
    Navy investigators that he purchased the drugs through Linder's Web
    site, court records say.

    The records say that Klecker pressed the powder into Foxy pills and
    sold them to Navy personnel and others in the Norfolk area. Typically,
    according to the DEA, the drug was sold at rave parties.

    Klecker was arrested in 2002 along with another former sailor ,
    Michael D. Wolfe, and Timothy C. Luken, who had worked for Sentara
    Norfolk General Hospital. Luken pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy
    charge and was sentenced last fall to 70 months in prison.

    His sentence later was cut in half for assistance that he provided to
    investigators in the case, court records show. Wolfe pleaded guilty to
    a similar charge and is serving a 48-month prison sentence. Klecker
    also pleaded guilty but challenged the government's argument that Foxy
    was an illegal controlled substance.

    At the time of the case, Foxy was not listed as an illegal substance
    by the DEA. It is now. Klecker took his case to the U.S. Supreme
    Court, but the court refused to hear it. He is serving an 84-month
    prison term.

    Officials said the Klecker case was instrumental in getting the DEA to

    list Foxy as an illegal drug.

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