A trip into "dark web" drug deals has resulted in the arrest of an Iowa man for allegedly selling thousands of dollars in narcotics to college students in Ohio using bitcoin, authorities said.
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Athens County, Ohio prosecutor Keller Blackburn announced on Monday they had arrested Anthony Scott Boeckholt, 42, of Forest City, Iowa, on Jan. 29 for allegedly selling "many large shipments of narcotics and other drugs" to two students in Athens, Ohio.
Boeckholt has been charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony, for deals that occurred for two years from January 2016 to January 2018.
The deals, arranged through the so-called "dark web," were done using bitcoin -- making them especially hard to track, according to the prosecutor's office.
"The secretive nature of the dark web and cryptocurrency allows huge drug deals to be made without a trace," 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."
Authorities said they linked two drug overdose deaths in 2017 at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, to the investigation surrounding Boeckholt.
Boeckholt is being held in Iowa awaiting extradition to Ohio, police said.
The prosecutor announced more charges are expected against "additional individuals in both Ohio and Iowa as this case remains under investigation."
Ohio is one of the hardest-hit regions for the country's opiate crisis, according to statistics. Statistics from the Ohio Department of Health showed 4,050 people died from opioid overdoses in 2016, the most recent statistics on record. Ohio had the second-most overdose deaths per state in the country, behind only West Virginia, with 39.1 deaths per 100,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
"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," said Blackburn.