When Holly Roberts showed up a few years ago from East Texas with her two teens in tow, looking to rent a 400-square-foot efficiency on San Antonio’s West Side, landlord William Polson didn’t raise an eyebrow.
“She was working at Pizza Hut,” Polson said. “Single mom with two kids.”
Six months later, her husband, Matthew Roberts, drove up in an old Volvo.
“It literally broke down when he got here,” Polson said.
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They seemed so tight for money that they had trouble paying $10 fee for being late on the rent.
But in late August, the Justice Department accused them of being drug kingpins in charge of the largest online fentanyl distribution network in the country. They used the dark net, the internet’s version of the black market, to buy and sell illegally manufactured fentanyl, which has fueled a national epidemic of fatal overdoses, and other drugs.
They were arrested in a raid at their rented home in San Antonio in late April, part of “Operation Darkness Falls,” which targeted dark-net dealers.
Over seven years, the Robertses carried out thousands of deals and did so with apparently self-taught computer skills, officials allege.
Read more about this seemingly ordinary couple on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com, or in Sunday’s edition of the Express-News.
Guillermo Contreras covers federal court and immigration news in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read him on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @gmaninfedland