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Seattle-area man indicted in St. Louis in dark web drug counterfeiting scheme

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ST. LOUIS — A Seattle-area man was arraigned Friday in federal court here on charges that he used bitcoin to order counterfeit or misbranded drugs on the dark web.

Maximillian G. Verbowski, 27, pleaded not guilty Friday to a May 4 indictment filed here charging him with counts of conspiracy, buying counterfeit drugs and using fake names to receive drug shipments by mail.

The indictment, unsealed May 11 after Verbowski's arrest in Washington state, alleges that in 2020 and 2021, Verbowski ordered at least 130,000 counterfeit and misbranded drugs from someone with the online handle "TheBenzoBoys" and had them shipped by mail to Verbowski in Seattle.

The indictment says that someone from the St. Louis region identified only as B.A. and known online as "TheBenzoBoys," obtained generic equivalents of Xanax by mail from China, used a pill press machine to make counterfeit versions and sold them on the dark web.

Verbowski used various aliases, including "Packlord206," "Joohpackz" and "Vladimir Klokov," to receive nearly $39,000 worth of counterfeit drugs using bitcoin, the indictment says. 

Verbowski is out on bail in Washington while he awaits trial.

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