A 30-year-old Orlando man faces 20 years in federal prison for selling designer drugs which were being shipped from China through an online black market for illegal narcotics, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
A jury found Andrew "Drew" Pieters guilty Thursday in federal court in Orlando for selling thousands of dollars worth of methylone – a designer drug similar to the popular club drug ecstasy.
Records show the drugs Pieters distributed were shipped by mail between January 2013 and August 2013 through the website Silk Road, records state. Launched in 2011, Silk Road was shut down by law enforcement in late 2013 and its founder Ross W. Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year.
Records show Pieters told a DEA agent he sold the drugs for about $11,000 a kilogram. Pieters was busted Jan. 9 as he was trying to buy 2 kilograms from an informant outside the Millenia Place Apartments in Orlando, records state.
At the time, Pieters was armed with a 9 mm pistol inside his gray BMW sedan when an informant delivered a U.S. Postal Service package provided by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Orange County Sheriff's Office, records state.
The informant began working with the DEA in 2013 after being identified in a prior methylone investigation. In late 2014, the informant offered to sell pounds of the drug to Pieters who was acting as a middleman for an unidentified buyer, records state.
"DEA will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney's Office in order to identify and bring to justice any persons importing and distributing illegal narcotics in the Central Florida region," said Jeffrey T. Walsh, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge. "We will continue to dedicate any resources necessary to identify emerging trends and methods that are utilized by these drug trafficking organizations."
His attorney Mark O'Mara described Pieters as a very polite, respectful individual who had never been arrested before.
Pieters will be sentenced Dec. 10 for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and attempting to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
By Henry Pierson-Curtis - The Orlando Sentinel/Oct. 18, 2015