EAST ST. LOUIS — A San Diego man who sold fentanyl on the dark web as “The Drug Llama" pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal drug charges, prosecutors said.
Brandon Arias, 34, admitted that he was one of two people who created an account on “Dream Market,” a dark web marketplace, and was involved in selling 1,000 fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl pills every week throughout the U.S. from October 2016 to August 2018, prosecutors said.
Arias pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, five counts of illegally distributing fentanyl, selling counterfeit drugs, and misbranding drugs, they said.
He is scheduled to be sentenced in October.
“People think they are anonymous when they use the dark web,” U.S. Attorney Steve Weinhoeft said in a statement announcing the plea, “but the drugs and money are here, in the real world, and our agents will work tirelessly to connect the illegal contraband to the criminals hiding within the shroud of the dark web.”
Acting Food and Drug Administration commissioner Ned Sharpless said in the same statement that the agency had expanded enforcement efforts to target dark web drug sales.
Arias' co-defendant, Melissa Scanlan, 31, has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to go to trial Aug. 27.