"The Drug Llama" Sentenced To 13 Years In Federal Prison

Melissa Scanlan, also known as “The Drug Llama”, has been sentenced to 160 months (13 years) in federal prison in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois for trafficking fentanyl throughout the United States via the “dark web,” engaging in an international money laundering conspiracy, and distributing fentanyl that results in death.

This was released in a press statement by the United States Department of Justice. Facts disclosed in open court revealed that Scanlan and Arias created an account on “Dream Market,” a dark web1 marketplace where users buy and sell illegal substances and services, and used that account to sell substantial quantities of narcotics while operating under the moniker, “The Drug Llama.” The charged fentanyl distribution conspiracy lasted from October 2016 to August 2018, during which time Scanlan sold approximately 52,000 fentanyl pills throughout the United States.

According to court records, Scanlan and Arias made over $100,000 from their dark web drug trafficking and split the money evenly. Court records also demonstrated Scanlan’s participation in an international money laundering conspiracy with Mexican cartel members, as well as her role in aiding and abetting the distribution of fentanyl pills to a woman identified as A.W., who later died.

This 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, United States Customs and Border Protection, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois. Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek J. Wiseman is the prosecuting attorney on the case.

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