Three Darknet Fentanyl Vendors Sentenced to Over 20 Years in Prison

A Tempe, Arizona, woman was sentenced this week 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.