One of the two defendants behind the Dream Market vendor account “The Drug Llama” was sentenced in a United States District Court to 108 months in federal prison for his role in a large-scale fentanyl distribution operation. Brandon Arias was sentenced to nine years in prison for a total of eight charges connected to the trafficking of narcotics through a vendor account on Dream Market. Arias, according to court documents as well as his own confession, helped his co-defendant Melissa Scanlan sell fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl, and other illegal substances through the darkweb. Together, Arias and Scanlan opened and operated a vendor account under the username “The Drug Llama.”
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The duo primarily distributed counterfeit oxycodone pills through their vendor account. Court documents revealed that Arias and Scanlan had purchased at least 1,000 fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl pills per week from known members of a Mexican drug trafficking cartel. The counterfeits resembled prescription oxycodone 30 mg pills produced by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. They admitted running this operation for almost two years out of their homes in San Diego, California.
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The involvement of the Food and Drug Administration in cases against darkweb vendors usually indicates that a suspect is or was distributing or producing counterfeit versions of a prescription medication. In this case, not only had Arias and Scanlan been distributing potentially lethal oxycodone knockoffs, but they had also been selling misbranded Cytotec (misoprostol). Misoprostol is an NSAID often used illegally for self-induced abortions in locations where medically supervised surgical or medical abortions are either illegal or too expensive. Misoprostol was the only drug aside from fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl listed in Arias’ indictment.
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