A Canadian man thought to be the mastermind behind the Canada1 darknet market vendor operation is awaiting extradition to the US after being indicted on charges related to the importation and sales of fentanyl. Thomas Michael Federuik, 59, of West Vancouver, Canada, and co-conspirator Paul Anthony Nicholls, 44, of Surrey, England, were both arrested on May 24. The two are accused of importing large quantities of fentanyl from China and Hungary which they allegedly repackaged for sale on the dark web.
In Oct. 2017, two US Navy petty officers, who were friends, were found dead of fentanyl overdose in the same Georgia home, although the deaths were four days apart. On Oct. 12, one man was found dead after his family reported him missing. On Oct. 16, the second man was found dead after failing to report for duty, with police reporting he had a “white foamy substance” coming from his nose when discovered.
The investigation that led to the takedown of Federuik, dubbed Operation Canada1, began shortly after the deaths of the naval officers, in Oct. 2017. According to the indictment by the US Department of Justice, the source of the drugs that killed the sailors was soon traced back to Federuik, who had used Canadian-postmarked packaging labeled “East Van Eco Tours” to ship fentanyl orders into the US. The Cybercrime Operations Group of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police then linked the fictitious business with Federuik.
Both Federuik and Nicholls were initially arrested in Mar. 2018 at their residence, where police found a large quantity of fentanyl and tracking slips that matched packages intercepted by US authorities in Georgia. Nicholls was subsequently deported to the UK for overstaying his visa while Federuik was released on bond. Both men face a minimum 10-year US prison sentence and a maximum life sentence if convicted, along with fines up to $10 million.