Canadians and British charged with overdoses in the US Navy

A man from Canada and a man from the United Kingdom have been charged in Georgia for sending fentanyl to two US Navy non-commissioned officers who died of drug overdoses in October 2017.

Thomas Michael Federuik, 59, of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Paul Anthony Nicholls, 44, of Surrey, England, are charged with conspiracy to import and distribute drugs and conspiracy to launder money .

Because prosecutors allege deaths resulted from the charges, the men could face a minimum of 20 years in prison if convicted of the drug charges. They could also face fines of up to $10 million.

Federuik and Nichols were charged under seal in 2019. The case became public last week.

“The prevalence of this drug is, in large part, fueled by an illicit pipeline of illegally imported drugs,” David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, said in a statement. “This investigation was intended to trace this pipeline back to its source to cut off its flow to our country in an effort to protect our citizens from harm.”

The two overdose victims lived in Kingsland, near the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in the far southeast of Georgia.

Officials say Federuik and Nichols sold drugs using a website designed to be hidden from the public on the “dark web”, sometimes accepting cryptocurrency as payment. The drugs would arrive from Canada in packages labeled “East Van Eco Tours.” Canadian investigators, including those in Calgary, have targeted a vendor dubbed Canada1, who prosecutors say is Federuik.

The indictment alleges that Federuik and Nicholls acquired the drugs from countries like China and Hungary. Both men are in custody and awaiting extradition proceedings to bring them back to Georgia. No lawyers for the men are listed in US court records.