The Nebraska pharmacist has been sentenced to nine decades and the Maryland drug dealer was sentenced to 14 years for the storyline.
According to federal prosecutors, the illegal drug operation between a Nebraska pharmacist and a dark web dealer from Maryland was going so well that the group was running out of drugs to market.
They said the pharmacist, Hyrum T. Wilson, 41, of Auburn, Neb., delivered over 19,000 doses of prescription drugs in Hyrum’s Family Value Pharmacy in Auburn to William Anderson Burgamy IV, 33, of Hanover, Md., from August 2019 to April 2020.
However, when Mr. Wilson hit limits set by a distributor, capping the number of drugs he could acquire and send to Mr. Burgamy, both came up with a plan.
The gains could have been twofold, prosecutors said: Mr. Wilson and Mr. Burgamy planned to raid a rival drugstore, scooping up a supply of drugs to market. Then, after burning the drugstore, the business would be booming at Hyrum’s, raising the number of drugs Mr. Wilson could send to Mr. Burgamy to market on his website on the dark web, NeverPressedRx.
On Friday, in a U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., Mr. Burgamy was sentenced to 14 years in prison, and Mr. Wilson to nine years. Mr. Burgamy had previously pleaded guilty to four felony counts of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, money laundering and firearms conspiracy and conspiracy to use explosives. Like Mr. Burgamy’s, Mr. Wilson had pleaded guilty to three felony counts, though with no firearms count.
The storyline, and that the pair had dubbed “Operation Firewood,” involved skull covers, duffel bags, Molotov cocktails and a rental car, with the equipment list inserted right to a black leather-bound laptop. Mr. Wilson crafted an “escape” map with escape routes for Mr. Burgamy to use following the assault that the Justice Department stated.
However, the plot was never completed. It started to unfold in December, when the F.B.I., along with agents from the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration, started investigating NeverPressedRx and Mr.Burgamy’s website, as part of an international investigation into trafficking on the dark web, according to the Justice Department.
Beginning in January, researchers placed and received nine undercover purchases of oxycodone and Adderall from NeverPressedRx. Throughout the investigation, law enforcement identified Mr. Burgamy as the website’s operator; surveillance has been conducted on Mr. Burgamy “on many occasions as he put packages” from NeverPressedRx to the mail, court records said.
The website, which proclaimed that”all of our inventory comes straight from a U.S. Pharmacy,” had a stellar reputation: 99.95 percent of its reviews were favorable, researchers found in April.
On April 9, national law enforcement arrested Mr. Burgamy in his home before raiding it. They found eight firearms, all loaded, including two AR-15 assault rifles, and “thousands of prescription opioid pills,” according to court records.
Federal law enforcement agents executed search warrants at Mr. Wilson’s house and in his drugstore on the same day. He was detained a week afterward.
The Justice Department reported that Mr. Burgamy gave a cut of their profits from the drug sales to Mr. Wilson via Bitcoin payments, wire transfers and bundles of money sent through the mail. Mr. Burgamy claimed he made almost $1 million throughout the surgery.
While the pair were awaiting corona-virus constraints to be lifted before they completed the plan to bomb the rival drugstore, the virus provided another chance, the department stated: Mr. Wilson and Mr. Burgamy discussed selling hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to gain from the pandemic.
Mr. Wilson’s attorney, Joseph Howard, said in a telephone interview on Friday evening that his client was coaxed to the drug dealing and the firebomb plot by Mr. Burgamy after both had met online playing with the “War Dragons” video game.
Mr. Wilson is on the autism spectrum, Mr. Howard said, and “simply can not function socially.” He was pleased to have found a friend in Mr. Burgamy, Mr. Howard said. When he realized that he was “trapped,” Mr. Wilson tried selling the pharmacy in an attempt to escape the surgery, Mr. Howard said.
Mr. Burgamy’s attorney, Elizabeth Ann Mullin, a public defender, declined to comment on Friday night.
Hyrum’s Family Value Pharmacy was one of three medications in Nebraska selected in December for a state health department pilot program to distribute free naloxone nasal spray kits to prevent opioid overdoses.