Canadian man faces multiple U.S. charges over alleged fentanyl smuggling – National

A Canadian man is facing 14 charges for the alleged distribution and exportation of fentanyl to the United States, according to U.S. court filings.

According to documents filed in court, Michael Christopher Wozney of Etobicoke, Ont. faces seven counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and another seven counts of importation of a controlled substance into the country.

The U.S. attorney’s office calls Wozney a “vendor of fentanyl on the dark net,” defined as a part of the internet not accessible by most internet browsers. The U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Philip R. Sellinger’s office, says it’s designed to allow users to conduct transactions anonymously.

Wozney is accused of selling fentanyl in multiple marketplaces on the dark net, allegedly completing “hundreds of transactions.” He allegedly shipped fentanyl to individuals in the U.S., including those in New Jersey, the documents claim.

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The charges accuse the 38-year-old of advertising the sale of fentanyl products, including substances he called “close to pure” and “dangerous level.”

Fentanyl was then shipped in a way to “evade detection and seizure” by border officials and law enforcement, the court filings allege, arguing that Wozney went on to reship orders in cases where shipments were seized, and alerted customers he was “modifying his mailing practices to evade detection.”

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Each indictment Wozney faces carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a US$1 million fine.

U.S., Canada and Mexico work to combat fentanyl

The U.S. is trying to crack down on the fentanyl overdose crisis. In early 2023, the country was joined by Canada and Mexico in looking at ways to combat the crisis together. In January 2023, the leaders of the three countries jointly called for the formation of a senior-level fentanyl committee.

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The drug has also become a crisis in Canada, impacting every part of the country.

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According to the government of Canada, fentanyl was involved in 84 per cent of accidental apparent opioid toxicity deaths in the first six months of 2023.

The drug is reported to enter the country’s illegal drug market in three ways, from illegal import from other countries, product from illegal laboratories in Canada, and the theft of medical fentanyl products, which the government notes is mainly in skin patches.

South of the border, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the overdose death rate topped 112,000 in a 12 month period that same year, with the White House noting many of the deaths were the result of fentanyl.

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