A pharmacist has been sentenced to nine years in prison for his role in “Operation Firewood”, while his Darknet vendor co-conspirator received 14 years
A Darknet vendor and a pharmacist, both from the US, have been sentenced to a combined 23 years in prison for their roles in a conspiracy to use explosives to firebomb and destroy a competitor pharmacy.
From August 2019 through April 2020, Hyrum T. Wilson, 41, illegally mailed over 19,000 dosage units of prescription medications, including opioids, from his pharmacy in Nebraska to the home of William Anderson Burgamy IV, 33, in Maryland.
According to court documents, Mr Burgamy illegally sold prescription drugs through his Darknet vendor account to customers nationwide. He allegedly claimed at one point that he made nearly $1 million total.
Mr Burgamy and Mr Wilson were found to have laundered the proceeds of their scheme using Bitcoin cryptocurrency payments, wire transfers, and bundles of cash sent through the mail, according to the US Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Virginia, Department of Justice.
Given the success and profitability of the Darknet scheme, Mr Wilson repeatedly hit limits set by his distributor on the amount of prescription drugs that he could obtain and provide to Mr Burgamy.
Consequently, the two developed an attack plot known as “Operation Firewood” to break into, steal the opiate supply of, and firebomb a competing pharmacy located in the same city as Mr Wilson’s pharmacy, by using explosives.
The goal of the attack plot was to destroy Mr Wilson’s local competition, which the two men believed would increase the volume of prescription drugs that Mr Wilson’s pharmacy could obtain, thereby allowing their drug trafficking operation to continue and expand.
Mr Wilson created a “getaway” map and escape routes for Mr Burgamy to use to help him evade law enforcement detection after the firebombing.
Mr Wilson allegedly instructed Mr Burgamy to make the firebombing appear as though it was committed by a fictitious “pissed off husband” who learned about a fabricated affair involving the husband’s wife and a pharmacist from the victim pharmacy.
The co-conspirators allegedly discussed obtaining and selling hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for illegal distribution purposes in order to further profit from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
They also agreed that Mr Burgamy and another individual would carry multiple firearms during the attack and use explosives, specifically Molotov cocktails enhanced with Styrofoam as a thickening agent, to burn the victim pharmacy down.
According to court documents, Mr Burgamy told Mr Wilson that he would never surrender to law enforcement, that if anyone showed up during the attack, he would “blast [his] [expletive] way out,” and that he would shoot bullets at anyone who attempted to confront or apprehend him, including the owner of the victim pharmacy.
Law enforcement officials located eight unsecured fully loaded firearms in Mr Burgamy’s residence, including AR-15 assault rifles and numerous high-capacity magazines.
According to court documents, officials found thousands of prescription opioid pills in pharmacy quantity bottles at the residence.
Mr Burgamy’s arrest in April this year uncovered and thwarted the firebombing plot, which had been planned to occur after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. He named Mr Wilson in admissions to law enforcement.
Mr Burgamy and Mr Wilson were sentenced to 168 months and 112 months in prison respectively.
The prosecution was part of an international enforcement operation targeting opioid traffickers on the Darknet.
Operation DisrupTor, announced on 22 September, was conducted across the US and Europe and resulted in over 170 arrests worldwide, the seizure of weapons, drugs, and over $6.5 million.