Fargo officials assist in conviction of online drug dealers

FARGO, ND. (Valley News Live) - A package from California shipping through Fargo caught the eye of local law enforcement. That's when they sprang into action.

"In January, K9 Kilo alerted to one of those packages, we obtained a search warrant for that package and opened it,” said LT George Vinson with Fargo Police Department. “Found approximately two ounces of methamphetamines."

They couldn't give away exactly what seemed off about the package, but further investigation tracked it back to two people, a father and son combo distributing meth on one of the world's largest darknet marketplaces.

"At the time, we had no idea that this would turn into a nationwide type dark web investigation that would land people in California in jail for a significant amount of time," Vinson said.

Vinson says while this investigation turned into something unexpected, finding drugs in the mail is not all that unusual.

"It's not uncommon for drug dealers to ship their drugs through the mail or through the UPS or FedEx, different shipping companies that we have in town," Vinson said.

Here in Fargo, he says they're alerted to suspicious packages roughly five to 10 times every month, and says K9 units play a vital role in uncovering what is truly inside those packages.

"A lot of times, drug dealers think that they are tricking the dog by masking it with other odors such as coffee beans or mustard or duck tape or grease,” Vinson said. “All that does is tell the dog that there's other odors in there. The dog is separating those odors."

So with the help of K9 Kilo, the Fargo Police Department, the Cass County Drug Task Force, and other agencies across the US, two drug dealers are now convicted and will serve at least 10 years in federal prison.

The two men are scheduled to be sentenced in September. While they are guaranteed to spend a decade behind bars, they could also receive life sentences.