A Canadian man is facing 14 charges for the alleged distribution and exportation of fentanyl to the United States, according to U.S. court filings.

According to documents filed in court, Michael Christopher Wozney of Etobicoke, Ont. faces seven counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and another seven counts of importation of a controlled substance into the country.

The U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, Philip R. Sellinger, said Wozney was a “prolific vendor of fentanyl on the dark net.”

Wozney is accused of selling fentanyl in multiple marketplaces on the dark net, allegedly completing “hundreds of transactions.” He allegedly shipped fentanyl to individuals in the U.S., including those in New Jersey, the documents claim.

The charges accuse the 38-year-old of advertising the sale of fentanyl products, including substances he called “close to pure” and “dangerous level.”

Story continues below advertisement

According to the U.S. indictment, Wozney allegedly operated on the Dark Net under multiple pseudonyms, including “CDNVEN” and “CDN-VEN.”

Wozney allegedly administered and sold fentanyl through several Dark Net marketplaces including “CDNVEN Shop” and “Empire Market,” the U.S. indictment said, directing customers to pay for their purchases using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

“He subsequently transferred the virtual currency payments to intermediary currency wallets, and eventually to a virtual currency wallet that was registered in his name,” U.S prosecutors said.

Fentanyl was then shipped in a way to “evade detection and seizure” by border officials and law enforcement, the court filings allege, arguing that Wozney went on to reship orders in cases where shipments were seized, and alerted customers he was “modifying his mailing practices to evade detection.”

Get the latest Health IQ news.

Sent to your email, every week.

Each indictment Wozney faces carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a US$1 million fine.

This is not the first time Wozney has faced criminal charges related to allegations of the import, export and possession of fentanyl, as well as amphetamines, with court filings in Ontario and B.C. dating back to July 2018 and an arrest in 2020.

According to court documents provided by the Ontario Court of Justice, Wozney was released on bail shortly after his arrest that year.

Among the charges were unlawfully importing fentanyl into Canada, unlawfully importing amphetamines into the country and unlawfully possessing both drugs.

Story continues below advertisement

He also was charged with several counts of unlawfully conspiring and agreeing with a person or persons to commit the indictable offence of possessing fentanyl and amphetamines for the purpose of trafficking each. Those latter counts, according to the documents, related to alleged activities in the city of Vancouver, the province of Ontario and China.

Peter Thorning, the lawyer representing Wozney, declined to comment when reached by Global News.

U.S., Canada and Mexico work to combat fentanyl

The U.S. is trying to crack down on the fentanyl overdose crisis. In early 2023, the country was joined by Canada and Mexico in looking at ways to combat the crisis together. In January 2023, the leaders of the three countries jointly called for the formation of a senior-level fentanyl committee.

The drug has also become a crisis in Canada, impacting every part of the country.

Story continues below advertisement

Click to play video: 'Biden and Xi agree on curbing fentanyl production'

Biden and Xi agree on curbing fentanyl production

According to the government of Canada, fentanyl was involved in 84 per cent of accidental apparent opioid toxicity deaths in the first six months of 2023.

The latest data from Health Canada shows that just under 4,000 people died from apparent opioid toxicity deaths between January and June 2023 – an average of 22 deaths per day.

The drug is reported to enter the country’s illegal drug market in three ways, from illegal import from other countries, product from illegal laboratories in Canada, and the theft of medical fentanyl products, which the government notes is mainly in skin patches.

South of the border, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the overdose death rate topped 112,000 in a 12 month period that same year, with the White House noting many of the deaths were the result of fentanyl.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *