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Author Topic: Deputies make arrests after seizing 100K Xanax and $50,000 in Bitcoin!  (Read 1586 times)

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6:54 PM CST Jan 19, 2016

LAPLACE, La. —Federal investigators have joined local authorities after hundreds of thousands of Xanax-like pills were discovered by narcotics agents in LaPlace.

Matthew Helms, 23, was arrested in connection with the distribution network which was organized out of his home in LaPlace, St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre said.

“I’ve been here going on 29 years and I've never seen anything like this,” Tregre said.

Tregre said Helms sent and received packages of pills through the mail. When agents searched his home, they seized 100,000 pills that were found to be a home-manufactured form of Xanax.

Helms was booked on charges of possession with intent to distribute alprazolam, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of suboxone and possession of marijuana. He is being held in lieu of $311,500 bond.

His live-in girlfriend, Megan De St. Germaine, was also arrested after the Jan. 5 search of the home. She faces charges of possession with intent to distribute alprazolam, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of suboxone, and possession of marijuana. De St. Germaine remains in custody in lieu of $83,000 bond.

“You really don’t know what's in these pills and this is being manufactured in someone's home. And people actually ingest this,” Tregre said. “Of course if you take it with alcohol or another drug, you could die.”

Helms’ neighbors told WDSU he and De St. Germaine had just moved into the Live Oak Landing home one month ago. The neighbors believed the extra deliveries in December were Christmas presents.

“This is a residential neighborhood and it’s really quiet. There’s a lot of families here, so to think that they were running a drug ring from that house is just amazing,” neighbor Samuel Ashley said.

Ashley said he wondered whether the owner of the home should have been allowed by the homeowners’ association, by law, to rent the home to Helms.

In all, over $1.1 million worth of Xanax have been seized in the case. Another $50,000 in Bitcoins is frozen, based on today’s value. Tregre said Helms used the electronic currency to hide his dealings. The scheme has been traced back to an Internet-based network that used social media and dark sites to communicate.

Now federal agencies including Homeland Security and U.S. Postal Service investigators are moving in to bust the network online and find the manufacturer.

So far, the Sheriff's Office has arrested nine people in this case. Another arrest was made in St. Charles Parish. Tregre said federal charges are likely and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite is considering taking over the prosecution of the suspects.

Full Story: http://www.wdsu.com/news/local-news/new-orleans/deputies-make-arrests-after-homemanufactured-xanax-seized-during-bust-in-laplace/37517094
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