An undercover police investigation on Long Island into the sale of steroids on the dark web led to the arrest of a Suffolk County man who will now face prison time.
Yaphank resident Christopher Camacho, 43, was arrested on Monday, Dec. 14, by Nassau County District Attorney investigators as part of “Operation Jerome,” an investigation into the sale of more than $1 million worth of steroids over the Internet.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said that Camacho used the dark web to sell thousands of vials of trenbolone enanthate, an anabolic steroid and Schedule II Controlled Substance, to undercover law enforcement in exchange for Bitcoin currency.
Camacho allegedly used the United States Postal Service to illegally mail the illicit drugs, which can be used by athletes or bodybuilders to increase recovery time and chemically accelerate muscle growth.
It is alleged that since Jan. 1, Camacho sent more than 1,700 packages across the country after receiving them illegally from China and California.
When he was arrested, investigators seized more than $86,000, vials of drugs with an estimated street value of more than $1,000,000, and eight guns from his Yaphank home.
Singas said that this particular investigation was personal, and is named after Jason Jerome, an investigator from her office who died without warning in May.
“This high-tech operation stopped the alleged trafficking of illicit steroids through the dark web, tracing hard-to-track cryptocurrency back to this defendant,” Singas said. “We named this bust ‘Operation Jerome’ to honor NCDA Investigator Jason Jerome, who passed away unexpectedly in May.
“Investigator Jerome initiated this investigation, and we remember him as an extraordinary colleague who cared deeply for victims and worked late into the night to recoup their stolen money using his sophisticated computer skills,” she added. “We miss his smile, tenacity, enthusiasm, friendliness, and sense of humor.”
Camacho was charged with five counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and five counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was released following his initial court appearance and scheduled to appear back in court on Wednesday, Dec. 23. If convicted, Camacho faces two-and-a-half years in prison on each count.
“Criminals think they can hide their illegal activities by using the dark web,” Assistance Inspector in Charge Edward Gallashaw said. “But when you use the U.S. Mail to facilitate the transport of illegal and dangerous substances, Postal Inspectors and their law enforcement partners will vigorously pursue you, arrest you and bring you to justice for your crimes, ensuring the safety of the mail, our employees and customers.”
Singas said that “Operation Jerome” is ongoing, and additional charges are likely.