An indictment recently named the couple legally considered responsible for the death of an eighteen-year-old overdose victim in Portland Oregon. The two, Theodore Vitaliy Khleborod and Ana Milena Barrero, sold U-47700 on darknet markets like Alphabay. In early May, only weeks after their arrest (and even less time since the police stopped using the seized vendor account), a grand jury indicted both defendants.
A drug task force in Oregon found that a darknet vendor across the country sold Aisha Zughbieh-Collins, the now-deceased teenager, U-47700 (hereinafter U4). Law enforcement connected a vendor’s username to the entity responsible for the U4 distribution: PeterTheGreat. Then comes a minor lapse of information regarding the next stage of the investigation. A lapse or gap of disclosed information Khleborod’s attorney filed to discover.
The PeterTheGreat case demonstrates the necessity an early warning system provides. Fortunately Alphabay staff eliminated the account shortly after this post—a Reddit post published the same day of the announcement by law enforcement. Thankfully law enforcement pays little attention to the smaller buyers and looks for the resellers.
The Portland drug task force partnered with the Portland High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Interdiction Task Force. The taskforce combined local and federal resources and law enforcement collaboration for crimes like like this—ones that cross state and jurisdictional lines. In this case, the task force brought agents from the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigation taskforce and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Unofficial reports revealed that PeterTheGreat used a Greenville, South Carolina address as the return address on packages. This, we do not know for certain but based on the nearly immediate move towards South Carolina, this would not be a shock. Law enforcement began investigating in South Carolina soon after Portland based law enforcement teamed up with the federal taskforce.
Soon after, police saw a woman dropping off packages at a post office. The woman, later discovered to be Barrero, mailed packages that lined up with PeterTheGreat transactions. Police received a warrant for her mail. And seized over 100 packages with buyer addresses and names. Once law enforcement gathered enough evidence, they arrested the woman. And shortly thereafter, they raided the couple’s apartment and arrested the second suspect: Khleborod.
Investigators obtained warrants for the packages and, as displayed in the pictures, a search warrant for the apartment. They found, during the search, “large quantity of drug evidence.” Some in the form of pre-packaged USPS Priority Mail packages and some in the form of stored drug evidence. One photographs from the raid showed a picture of a jar and package with the label “U47.”
The abundance of packages at the Apartments from where the duo ran their operation, along with the number of packages taken directly from Barrero, connected the pair to the Alphabay vendor “PeterTheGreat.” Investigators reported that Barrerro and Khleborod “shipped packages of drugs to thousands of locations across the United States.”
Since the arrest, investigators believe the duo’s opioids contributed to multiple overdoses throughout the United States. Thus far, though, they have only been charged in connection with the death of Zughbieh-Collins.
“Greenville criminal defense attorney Richard Warder has been hired to defend Khleborod. On May 8, Warder filed multiple motions in the case including motions to disclose electronic surveillance, to disclose promises of immunity, disclosure of grand jury transcripts and to disclose the identity of any informants involved in gathering evidence against him.”
“Right now, all we have heard are allegations against Ms. Barrero. Once her and I have had an opportunity to review any proof against her, we may have more to say. But there are always two sides to every story, so I look forward to seeing what exactly the Portland Police are referring to.”
On May 9, a grand jury indictment charged them both with “knowingly and intentionally” distributing U-47700.