YEARLONG DARK WEB INVESTIGATION ENDS IN RICO ARRESTS @ 15 Oct 2020
After an extensive, yearlong joint investigation by the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), CCSO’s Tactical Impact Unit (TIU) arrested two subjects yesterday on various charges (see below), to include racketeering. Both 53-year-old Benjamin Burdick and 29-year-old Catilynkyrie Burdick of Inverness were taken into custody and are being held in the Citrus County Detention Facility without bond.

Yesterday, October 14, 2020, CCSO’s TIU, along with our federal law enforcement partners, executed a lawful search warrant at 3766 South Susan Point in Inverness. As part of the investigation, federal agents purchased counterfeit Xanax from the suspects on the “dark web” using cryptocurrency. This led to the search warrant being obtained by the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations and signed by a United States Magistrate out of the Middle District of Florida.

“Our joint investigation started in June of 2019,” remarked Sheriff Prendergast. “The successful outcome of this investigation is a prime example of the effective working relationships we have with our federal and local partners. Our office will continue to leverage these beneficial partnerships to further protect our citizens and rid our community of dangerous drug dealers such as these individuals.”

A comprehensive search of the residence exposed several pieces of manufacturing, distribution and sales equipment that were collected to include: a pill press, pill binder mixer, USPS mail envelopes, USPS shipping boxes, an Accupost scale, vacuum sealer and bags, a bag containing 5 kilograms of pill binder, a digital scale with several cups and bowls that contained a white powdery residue.

Detectives discovered numerous Ziploc and vacuum-sealed bags containing counterfeit Xanax pills and white pills stamped with G7322, which is marketed as prescription Alprazolam. In addition, approximately 16,000 pills (net. weight 15 lbs.) prepackage in various sizes and bags were located during the search. Detectives also seized $143,095 in US currency, which were proceeds from the online counterfeit drug sales, along with several firearms.

Benjamin Burdick, W/M (DOB 08/22/1967) was arrested on the following charges:

•Florida State Statute 893.0356 possession of a new substance, known as a controlled substance analog, which was created to produce a desired pharmacological effect and to evade the controlling statutory provisions, and has a potential for abuse similar to or greater than that of the substances controlled under chapter 893, to wit: Etizolam.

•Florida State Statute 817.564 possession and/or distribute an imitation controlled substance, to wit: Etizolam.

•Florida State Statute 831.31(1)(a) sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a counterfeit controlled substance, to wit: Xanax/Alprazolam.

•Florida State Statute 465.0161 distribute medical drugs through an internet pharmacy without a permit, to wit: Flualprazolam.

•Florida State Statute 893.13(6)(a) possession of a controlled substance, to wit: Cocaine.

•Florida State Statute 893.13(6)(a) possession of a controlled substance, to wit: Steroids.

•Florida State Statute 893.13(6)(a) possession of a controlled substance, to wit: THC wax.

•Florida State Statute 893.13(6)(a) possession of a controlled substance, to wit: Marijuana (over 20 grams).

•Florida State Statute 322.212(1)(a) possess any blank, forged, stolen, fictitious, counterfeit, or unlawfully issued driver's license or identification card or any instrument in the similitude of a driver's license or identification card unless possession by such person has been duly authorized by the department.

•Florida State Statute 893.13(1)(a) sell, manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance in a structure or conveyance where any child under 16 years of age is present, to wit: did manufacture counterfeit Xanax in the home.

•Florida State Statute 817.034(4)(a) scheme to defraud and obtains property that has an aggregate value of $50,000.00 or more, in violation of Florida State statue 817.034(4)(a); to wit: used counterfeit driver license to rent USPS P.O. Box.

•Florida State Statute 895.03(1) receive any proceeds derived, directly or indirectly, from a pattern of racketeering activity, to wit: racketeering activity is defined as crimes involving contraband adulterated or misbranded drugs, to wit: counterfeit Xanax.

•Florida State Statute 893.147(1) possession with the intent to use, or did unlawfully use, an object intended or designed for use in storing, concealing or injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body, a controlled substance, to wit: bowls, strainers, pill press, baggies, packaging material, punches and die tools and scales.

Catilynkyrie Burdick, W/F (DOB 10/26/1990) was arrested on the following charges:

•Florida State Statute 893.0356 possession of a new substance, known as a controlled substance analog, which was created to produce a desired pharmacological effect and to evade the controlling statutory provisions, and has a potential for abuse similar to or greater than that of the substances controlled under chapter 893, to wit: Etizolam.

•Florida State Statute 817.564 possession and/or distribute an imitation controlled substance, to wit: Etizolam.

•Florida State Statute 831.31(1)(a) sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a counterfeit controlled substance, to wit: Xanax/Alprazolam.

•Florida State Statute 465.0161 distribute medical drugs through an internet pharmacy without a permit, to wit: Flualprazolam.

•Florida State Statute 893.13(6)(a) possession of a controlled substance, to wit: Cocaine.

•Florida State Statute 893.13(6)(a) possession of a controlled substance, to wit: THC wax.

•Florida State Statute 893.13(6)(a) possession of a controlled substance, to wit: Marijuana (over 20 grams).

•Florida State Statute 893.13(1)(a) sell, manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance in a structure or conveyance where any child under 16 years of age is present, to wit: did manufacture counterfeit Xanax in the home.

•Florida State Statute 817.034(4)(a) scheme to defraud and obtains property that has an aggregate value of $50,000.00 or more, in violation of Florida State statue 817.034(4)(a); to wit: used counterfeit driver license to rent USPS P.O. Box.

•Florida State Statute 895.03(1) receive any proceeds derived, directly or indirectly, from a pattern of racketeering activity, to wit: racketeering activity is defined as crimes involving contraband adulterated or misbranded drugs, to wit: counterfeit Xanax.

•Florida State Statute 893.147(1) possession with the intent to use, or did unlawfully use, an object intended or designed for use in storing, concealing or injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body, a controlled substance, to wit: bowls, strainers, pill press, baggies, packaging material, punches and die tools and scales.

A special thank you goes out to all of our fellow law enforcement professionals at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who helped tremendously in seeing this investigation through. Our office would also like to recognize our county partners at Citrus County Fire Rescue’s Hazmat Unit for their technical assistance and expertise. Furthermore, we would like to recognize the State Attorney’s Office, the CCSO Forensics Unit, Crime Analysis Unit, Patrol Division, and the Communications Officers for their supportive roles in this investigation.

If you suspect illegal activity is being committed in your community, call our office at 352-726-1121 to make a report or contact Citrus County Crime Stoppers at 1-888-ANY-TIPS to remain anonymous.