Local News

Feds: Raleigh man made Xanax, sold it on 'dark web'

Posted November 20, 2017 4:00 p.m. EST
Updated November 20, 2017 10:17 p.m. EST

— A Raleigh man made and sold Xanax pills through encrypted websites in exchange for bitcoin, according to federal authorities.

Matthew Lee Yensan, of 8709 Hidden View Court, is charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute alprazolam (the generic name for Xanax), distribution of a controlled substance by means of the internet and possession of firearms to further drug trafficking, according to a recently unsealed indictment. He is being held in the Franklin County jail.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration received a tip in July that Yensan was mass producing Xanax at a storage unit on Gorman Street and sold the drugs on the "dark web," encrypted sites that are generally known for facilitating illegal activity such as child pornography and human trafficking. DEA agents then followed Yensan for weeks.

According to a recently unsealed application for a forfeiture warrant, postal inspectors intercepted a package headed to Yensan's home in September and found it to contain 3 pounds of "high-grade marijuana." When agents tried to deliver the package, Yensan fled from his house and had to be chased down. Inside the house, agents found another 12 pounds of marijuana; 2 pounds of "shatter," a wax derived from marijuana plants; prescription drugs; $269,000 in cash in a locked safe; several loaded handguns and a rifle hidden in "defensive positions" throughout the house; bitcoin storage cards and other items used to trade in the virtual currency; and a fake South Carolina driver's license that was used to rent the Gorman Street storage unit.

"They had DEA agents and six or seven sheriffs," said neighbor Linda Fansler. "They came and beat the door down and put him in handcuffs."

At the storage unit, authorities seized 400 pounds of Xanax precursors and benzodiazepine, 70,000 counterfeit pills of pressed Xanax with a street value of about $4 per pill, 200 to 300 postal shipping boxes containing various amounts of Xanax pills packaged in Mylar bags, three industrial-size pill presses, two electronic mixers and an electronic pill counter, according to the forfeiture warrant application.

Authorities were later able to access Yensan's bitcoin account and found the equivalent of $715,150 in it.

In addition to the assets of the bitcoin account, federal authorities also want to seize Yensan's firearms and ammunition, a 2014 Chevrolet Colorado pickup, a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette, two Jet Skis, the three pill presses from the storage unit and the cash found at his home as proceeds from his alleged drug activity.