Three Darknet Fentanyl Vendors Sentenced to Over 20 Years in Prison
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Tempe, Arizona, woman was sentenced today to 5 years in prison for her role in operating multiple darknet pages selling illicit drugs alongside two previously sentenced co-conspirators.
According to court documents, from at least in and around January of 2022 through August 2022, Veronica Dittman, 28, along with co-conspirators Rick Schiffner, 31, and Devin Langer, 30, both based in Phoenix, Arizona, ran the darknet monikers “TrustedTraphouse,” “GoldenTrails,” “PopcornPlug,” and others across at least dozen different darknet markets. On these markets, the co-conspirators advertised various controlled substances, including crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills that the conspirators advertised as oxycodone. During the course of the conspiracy, the conspirators made over 1,300 sales of controlled substances over the darknet using these accounts, distributing at least 800 grams of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, 500 grams of methamphetamine, 16 grams of heroin, and 7 grams of cocaine. The conspirators described the pressed pills containing fentanyl on one marketplace as “Not normal OxyCodone”, informing potential customers “These are MUCH stronger than pharmaceutical OxyCodone… These were NOT made by a pharmacy,” and warning customers to “BE CAREFUL.” Dittman worked primarily with Schiffner to process orders over the darknet and then package and ship them. Dittman also operated her own vendor accounts on the darknet using the monikers “VirtualPeddler” and “Darkette”. By the time of her arrest, she had made at least 74 sales of controlled substances through those accounts, the majority of which were fentanyl.
The darknet, also called the darkweb, is a portion of the Internet that hosts darknet markets, or hidden commercial websites. A darknet market operates as a black market, selling or brokering transactions involving legal products, as well as drugs, weapons, counterfeit currency, stolen credit card details, forged documents, unlicensed pharmaceuticals, steroids, and other illicit goods.
Co-conspirators Schiffner was sentenced on April 14, 2023, to 150 months imprisonment. Co-conspirator Langer was sentenced on April 17, 2023, to 84 months imprisonment.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division; Damon E. Wood, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS); and George A. Scavdis, Special Agent in Charge of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Metro Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia expresses its appreciation to the FBI Phoenix Field Office, USPIS Phoenix Division, Homeland Security Investigations Phoenix, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, FBI Las Vegas Field Office, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for their significant assistance in this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Call prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:23-cr-31.