MADISON, Ala. - Joseph William Davis, 25, of Madison has pleaded guilty to using the Internet and the U.S. Postal Service to traffic drugs in Madison and Cullman counties, according to the the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Alabama.
Davis used the online name OlympusXans in online dark markets to arrange shipments of drugs in the mail, prosecutors said.
Authorities said they seized one package containing more than 10,000 Alprazolam pills, and they found 600 Alprazolam and 600 fentanyl pills in another.
Jay Town, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, said Davis' crimes underscores the country's rapidly changing drug trade.
"This particular individual was using the dark web," Town said. "The dark web makes illegal drugs, illegal guns, illegal munitions, all types of illegal activity, makes them widely available."
Town said the dark web is changing how many drug dealers operate.
"The distribution, or the trafficking of illegal narcotics, it's not out on the street corners anymore," Town said. "It's done in the darkness and in the pixels of a computer."
The U.S. Attorney said the dark web even geographically expands criminal activity.
"They're crossing borders, virtually, on the dark web so that you can be dealing with someone in the Middle East, or over in China, or in the South Pacific," Town said. "You can deal with those in the darkness of your living room, and those pills can arrive at your residence the next day."
Town explained buying and selling on the dark web involves using forms of potentially untraceable money called 'cryptocurrency.'
"So, it's a place for our worst actors, the profits are going to terrorism, they're going for drugs, they're going for all the worst things that we are trying to get rid of in our communities," Town said.
The U.S. Attorney said it does not surprise federal authorities that such activities are taking place even in traditionally quiet cities like Madison.
"There really is nothing shocking in this business any longer," Town said. "The worst types of activity, the worst parts of criminality, can take place in Madison Alabama."
Davis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic drugs and possessing firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, federal prosecutors said. He was indicted in May on accusations that he was trafficking methamphetamine, Alprazolam and fentanyl.
Authorities said Davis was responsible for distributing or planning to distribute more than 50 grams of meth, more than 40 grams of fentanyl, almost 3 grams of cocaine and more than 80,000 units of Alprazolam.
Davis will be sentenced Dec. 19. He faces 10 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.