ILLINOIS (KFVS) - A man known as “The Drug Llama” was sentenced to nine years in federal prison for distributing fentanyl throughout the United States on the dark web.
According to the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, the prosecution began in January 2019 when a superseding indictment was filed against Brandon “The Drug Llama” Arias, 34, and his co-conspirator, Melissa Scanlan, 32.
The superseding indictment charged Arias with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, illegally distributing fentanyl (five counts), selling counterfeit drugs and misbranding drugs. He pleaded guilty to all eight charges back in July.
Scanlan also pleaded guilty to her role in the conspiracy, as well as her participation in an international money laundering conspiracy and a separate count of aiding the distribution of fentanyl resulting in death.
She is scheduled to be sentenced on February 10, 2020.
Both Arias and Scanlan have been in federal custody since their arrest earlier in 2019.
According to court filings, Arias and Scanlan created an account on “Dream Market,” a dark web marketplace where users buy and sell illegal substances and services, and sold substantial quantities of narcotics under the name “The Drug Llama.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the pair ran the operation from their hometown of San Diego, Calif. During their nearly two-year run, Arias was actively involved in Scanlan’s distribution of 1,000 fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl pills every week. They raked in more than $100,000 from their dark web drug trafficking and split the proceeds evenly.
The case was part of a months-long, coordinated national operation involving the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek J. Wiseman is the prosecuting attorney on the case.