The following is a press release from the United States Attorney's Office Southern District of New York:
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Carl J. Kotowski, the Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New Jersey Division, announced today the arrest of Andrew Cook, 23, of Long Branch on a charge of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute methoxetamine hydrochloride ("MXE"), an illegal analogue of the hallucinogenic drug.
The defendant had an initial appearance in the District of New Hampshire today before Magistrate Judge Andrea K. Johnstone.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: "As alleged, Andrew Cook was the sole proprietor of an illegal online distributor of MXE, a dangerous hallucinogenic drug. Thanks to the work of the DEA, Cook has been arrested and his illegal business taken offline."
DEA Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski said: "Today, the men and women of DEA have arrested a dangerous individual. Mr. Cook was hiding behind the anonymity of his computer screen. We will continue to pursue those peddling their drugs whether they are selling them on the street or via the internet."
According to the complaint unsealed on Nov. 23 in Manhattan federal court:
MXE, a designer drug, is an analogue of a controlled substance and has been "designed" to circumvent drug laws. MXE belongs to the same class of drugs as ketamine, phenycyclidine ("PCP"), and PCE. Drugs in this class produce dissociative anesthetic and hallucinogenic effects.
Cook was the sole owner and operator of an internet business, called Downlow Labs, which shipped various drugs, including MXE, to individuals across the country. COOK operated a drug manufacturing facility at his home in Long Branch, New Jersey. A search of Cook's residence uncovered, among other things, numerous baggies labeled "methoxetamine," a pill press, masks, beakers, rubber gloves, shipping supplies, invoices, approximately $14,500 in cash, and approximately 395 grams of MXE.
Cook was charged with one count of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute a controlled substance analogue, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
U.S. Attorney Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA New Jersey Tactical Diversion Squad, the New Jersey State Police Hazardous Material Unit, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Long Branch Police Department, and the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.
This case is being handled by the Office's Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Dina McLeod is in charge of the prosecution.