INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – A series of drug arrests during the last week of June reveal that the notorious “Dark Web” now reaches into Vero Beach.
Travis Maurice Remling was one of 12 people arrested during the execution of three search warrants. Mr. Remling was taken into custody at 8445 104th Court on a search warrant related to co-defendant Christopher Stokes.
According to his arrest affidavit, signed by a detective whose name is blacked out, “Remling stated ... that he has a bad drug problem. Remling ... eventually admitted to me that he does order and buy illegal narcotics off of the ‘Dark Web.’ Remling stated that subjects would come to him and place orders and he would order what they wanted off of the ‘Dark Web.’ These narcotics would then be shipped through the mail to him.”
The “Dark Web” is the name given to the several thousand websites that cannot be found through normal search engines. Finding these sites, which often deal in illegal activities or products, requires the use of a special browser designed to promote anonymity. The browser makes it almost impossible to identify specific users or pinpoint their location by routing information through a worldwide network of servers.
All sorts of illegal things can be purchased on the Dark Web, such as malicious software that lets a user hack into computers to steal information or to plant codes that causes other problems. Dark Web users can also find weapons, credit card numbers, passports, prostitutes, and real and fake drugs.
After the first search in the Vero Beach case, another search warrant was executed by the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration at Mr. Remling’s home at 2305 84th Court. According to the affidavit, a search of Mr. Remling’s bedroom yielded 1.4 pounds of a white power cutting agent, parts for a pill press, empty pill capsules, 12.7 grams of Suboxone, 27 grams of heroin/fentanyl, and two computers.
“The bag of heroin/fentanyl located in the garage was field tested and tested positive for the presence of both,” the affidavit read. “This substance was a blue in color powder that your affiant believes Remling was using to press and manufacture counterfeit oxycodone pills. The real prescription oxycodone pills are the same color as this substance. [P]ieces of a pill press were located inside of Remling’s bedroom.”
“This bag was consist(sp) with some of the bags that your affiant knew Remling to receive his narcotics in through the mail. Your affiant has obtained or observed bags like this over the course of this investigation. This bag was located in a shoebox that contained computer parts. Your affiant knows Remling to be an IT Specialist and computer expert. Remling has numerous computer items and parts in his bedroom, as well as stored in the garage.”
Another search warrant was executed at 305 17th Ave. That warrant resulted in the discovery of methamphetamine, amphetamine, heroin, and cocaine, and several guns.
Two loaded syringes were found, one that tested positive for methamphetamine, and one that tested positive for heroin.
According to the search warrant, the home was owned by Curtis Chupik, who was also arrested.
“Chupik advised that he has owned the property for 16 years, and resided there the entire time. Chupik claimed that he has tried to get these subjects to leave his residence, but Chupik was located in the living room which contained methamphetamine, syringes, and various other narcotics items in plain view.”
“Based on the facts presented in this report, there is probable cause that Curtis Chupik owned and controlled the residence of 305 17th Avenue, and knew that the residence was being used for the sale and trafficking of controlled substances.”
Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar said, “The DEA Clandestine Lab team assisted our agency during this search, as the fentanyl in this case is so dangerous it must be handled with care. We are grateful to our team of detectives for getting these illegal and dangerous substances off the streets. The opioid epidemic is very real and is here in our county. We will continue to battle against those who would peddle these illegal substances in our community.”