The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine has suspended a junior faculty member after she was charged with helping her roommate sell prescription pain pills through the online drug market Silk Road.
Alexandra Gold was in the second year of a two-year obstetrics and gynecology posting, said Kim Hoppe, a Hopkins Medicine spokeswoman. She added that the institution is "fully cooperating with the authorities" investigating the case.
Gold was arrested after undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Florida filed charges against her roommate Olivia Bolles, who is also a doctor. Bolles allegedly used the name MDPro to sell Xanax, oxycodone, Adderall and other drugs online.
Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA's Miami office, said in statement that Bolles' "greed" led her to put the public at risk.
"Dr. Bolles was a respectable doctor by day and a drug trafficker by night when she went incognito on the underground website Silk Road to illegally sell highly abused pharmaceutical medications," Trouville said.
The federal defender's office in Delaware, which represented Gold, declined to comment on the case. Bolles' attorney could not be reached, nor could either of the women.
Federal agents in Maryland and elsewhere have been investigating sellers on Silk Road since 2011, culminating in the site being shutdown in October and its alleged founder Ross Ulbricht being arrested. But according to court documents, Bolles then set up shop on a similar site known as Black Market Reloaded using the name GenRX1.
The charging document filed against Gold provided few specifics of her alleged involvement in the smuggling. In an interview with investigators after her arrest Gold admitted to helping Bolles package the pills to make them look like boxes of Swedish Fish and other candy and sending them in the mail, according to the charges against her.
The investigation into Bolles is described in detail in an affidavit filed in Florida
Bolles had been active on Silk Road since March 2013, according to court documents, selling a wide variety of prescription medications. In addition to selling drugs, federal authorities say MDPro used online message boards to dispense advice on ways to inject heroin and manufacture homemade pharmaceuticals.
Between March and August, Bolles made about $19,000 selling on Silk Road, authorities said.
Silk Road operated on a hidden part of the Internet that made it difficult for law enforcement to locate sellers in the real world. But authorities said Bolles did little conceal her identity when she mailed out some 600 packages to customers in 17 countries.
Agents said they built the case against Bolles by buying drugs from her and tracing the postage and mailing box that she paid for using an account in her real name. Three of the packages Bolles sent included her home address, according to court documents.
The two women were stopped by federal agents late last week while driving near their Newark, Del. home, according to court documents.
Bolles faces drug distribution charges in Florida and Gold has been charged in Delaware.
Gold was released Tuesday to await trial. A judge ordered her to have no contact with Bolles and not to use the Internet.