Brian Crowell discusses the dangers of Methylone to the media during a press conference.

DEA Busts Drug Crew In Rochester, New York, That Distributed Fake MDMA

Brian Crowell discusses the dangers of Methylone to the media during a press conference.

Brian Crowell discusses the dangers of Methylone to the media during a press conference.

In the wake of the club drug overdoses at the Electric Zoo Festival a few weeks ago,  federal law enforcement authorities announced a major crackdown on Molly, which turns out is not the MDMA old school ravers from the 90s tweaked out to. There is no Ecstasy from taking Molly. In fact, it’s Methylone, a stimulant that shady drug dealers are trying to pass off as MDMA.

Eight Rochester, New York, residents in their late teens and early Twenties have been criminally charged in a conspiracy to import and distribute the drug. The alleged methylone dealers are Joshua Buerman, 25; Michele Hess, 21; Kevin Willard, 21; Andrew Bosch, 28; Madhu Ashok, 21; Lance Minielly, 23; Jesse James Macaveny, 20; and Rita Levy Panzica, 18.

According to the criminal complaint, the Methylone crew have been getting significant quantities of the drug from a supply source in China, where it is mass produced. Methylone has a chemical structure that is closely related to MDMA. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration permanently listed methylone as a banned controlled substance in April.As part of the investigation, law enforcement officials obtained a court order authorizing the interception of e-mail communications from an e-mail address belonging to the source of supply in China. For 30 days, investigators intercepted emails that generated 450 leads on the sale of synthetic drugs to individuals across the United States.

These leads resulted in 54 arrests nationwide, with the subjects located in Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, Missouri, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, California and Texas. Agents also seized more than 70 kilograms of Methylone and numerous controlled substance analogs, several kilograms of cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA, as well as more than $50,000 in cash, several motor vehicles and seven weapons, including several firearms.

Rochester investigators obtained evidence indicating that the China-based supplier was shipping an assortment of controlled substances and controlled substance analogs to numerous customers located abroad, including but not limited to Austria, Canada, Finland, Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Lithuania.

In August, 2013, investigators learned through the e-mail interception that several shipments of Methylone were being shipped to members of the Rochester organization. The packages were intercepted and found to contain a total of 3.5 kilograms of Methylone crystals.

“Kids need to know they are not taking ecstasy,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell. “We are seeing street dealers selling something with a catchy name such as Molly, and in fact it’s poisonous synthetic chemicals made in labs in China. Overdoses from ingesting these types of chemicals are extremely dangerous and unforgiving.”

Before the big bust, the New York City Medical Examiner confirmed that two young people who died at the Electric Zoo festival on Randalls Island over Labor Day weekend took lethal mixtures of Methylone and MDMA. Dealers have resorted to passing off Methylone as MDMA due to a shortage of safrole, the oil extract from Sassafras trees that is used as a precursor in the manufacturing of Ecstasy.

Synthetic drug dealers have resorted to getting cheap knock-off analog drugs, like Methylone, from China, to keep their customers fooled.

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