A Springfield man has been arrested after federal investigators say he sold drugs to consumers across the country using a hidden section of the internet known as the dark web.
Andrew Mitchell, 43, was charged last week with illegally possessing a gun and dealing a chemical known as 1,4 Butanediol — an analogue of the date rape drug gamma hydroxybutyric acid, or GHB.
According to court documents, law enforcement with the FBI’s Kansas City office began monitoring Mitchell’s online activity in May.
A month later, court documents say investigators connected Mitchell to a package of meth that someone had unsuccessfully tried to ship from Springfield to Chicago. Mitchell’s name and address weren’t on the package, but court documents say he had been watching the tracking number online.
In building their case against Mitchell, federal investigators reviewed messages Mitchell allegedly posted online promoting the substances he had for sale.
Court documents say Mitchell advertised his products as legal in the United States, under the premise that the criminal code had not yet caught up to these new chemical substances as long as they were marketed as “not intended for human consumption.”
“Like you can have it in a bag on your dash and they cant do anything about, legal,” one post allegedly said. “I am talking completely legal.”
Federal prosecutors say, however, that they have evidence Mitchell was dealing in 1,4 Butanediol and that the intent was for people to consume it — which they say is illegal under federal law.
In September, law enforcement says postal inspectors intercepted more than 25 pounds of 1,4 Butanediol that was bound for Mitchell’s home in Springfield.
On Oct. 7, authorities had one of the packages of 1,4 Butanediol delivered to Mitchell’s home as they watched and then executed a search warrant.
Court documents say law enforcement found a handgun during its search of Mitchell’s home last week. Mitchell has several prior felony convictions and is not allowed to legally possess a gun, according to federal prosecutors.
Mitchell allegedly admitted to possessing the gun and the 1,4 Butanediol with the intent to sell it online.
Mitchell is being held in jail as his case moves forward. His attorney could not be reached for comment on Friday.