Montreal-area man charged in U.S. in darknet fentanyl trafficking case

U.S. authorities have charged a Quebec man for allegedly importing fentanyl into the United States using a network of secret websites called the darknet.

The charges against Arden McCann in connection with the disruption of an international opioid-trafficking ring were announced this week by officials in Washington, D.C.

McCann was charged in Atlanta with four counts including conspiring to import drugs into the United States and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Authorities say at least one person in Georgia died in December 2016 from the synthetic opioid known as fentanyl, allegedly imported by McCann.

The darknet is a part of the internet hosted within an encrypted network and accessible only through specialized anonymity-providing tools, notably the Tor browser.

McCann, 32, of St-Bruno, Que., south of Montreal, faces extradition and has been detained in Canada since late February after being arrested by the RCMP.

On Tuesday, a senior U.S. Department of Justice official announced 179 arrests worldwide allegedly tied to the network and described McCann as one of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s most wanted targets.

They allege that at his peak, McCann was shipping more than 10 kilograms of fentanyl and over 300,000 counterfeit Xanax pills monthly.

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