In a significant victory for law enforcement, three darknet fentanyl vendors have been sentenced to over 20 years in prison. The investigation uncovered a highly organized operation in which Veronica Dittman, Rick Schiffner, and Devin Langer ran multiple darknet pages selling illicit drugs. Operating under various aliases, the trio advertised controlled substances such as crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills. With over 1,300 sales made, the group distributed significant quantities of these dangerous drugs, including counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, which they had deceptively advertised as oxycodone. The sentencing of Dittman, Schiffner, and Langer sends a strong message to those involved in darknet drug trafficking that their actions will not go unpunished.
In a recent court case, three individuals involved in the illegal sale of controlled substances on the darknet were sentenced to over 20 years in prison. The case involved Veronica Dittman, Rick Schiffner, and Devin Langer, who operated multiple darknet pages selling illicit drugs. This article will provide an overview of the case, the sentencing details, the illegal activities involved, Veronica Dittman’s role, information about the darknet, details about the collaborators’ sentencing, information about the law enforcement agencies involved in the case, and the prosecution of the case.
The Darknet and Its Marketplaces
The darknet is a portion of the internet that hosts darknet markets, which are hidden commercial websites. These markets operate as black markets, facilitating transactions involving legal and illegal products, including drugs, weapons, counterfeit currency, stolen credit card details, forged documents, unlicensed pharmaceuticals, and more. The darknet provides a level of anonymity for buyers and sellers, making it an attractive platform for illegal activities.
Overview of the Case
Veronica Dittman, along with Rick Schiffner and Devin Langer, ran multiple darknet pages selling controlled substances. The trio operated under various monikers, including “TrustedTraphouse,” “GoldenTrails,” and “PopcornPlug,” across several darknet markets. The drugs they advertised and sold included crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills marketed as oxycodone. Over the course of the conspiracy, they made over 1,300 sales of controlled substances, distributing at least 800 grams of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, 500 grams of methamphetamine, 16 grams of heroin, and 7 grams of cocaine.
Veronica Dittman’s Sentencing
Veronica Dittman, a 28-year-old from Tempe, Arizona, was sentenced to 5 years in prison for her role in operating the darknet pages and selling illicit drugs. Dittman primarily collaborated with Rick Schiffner, processing orders, packaging them, and shipping them. She 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, with the majority being fentanyl.
Rick Schiffner’s Sentencing
Rick Schiffner, a 31-year-old based in Phoenix, Arizona, was sentenced to 150 months imprisonment for his involvement in the darknet drug operation. Schiffner was one of the main collaborators of Veronica Dittman, and together they advertised and sold various controlled substances. His significant prison sentence reflects the severity of his role in the illegal activities.
Devin Langer’s Sentencing
Devin Langer, a 30-year-old also based in Phoenix, Arizona, received a prison sentence of 84 months for his participation in the darknet drug operation. Langer, along with Dittman and Schiffner, played a significant role in advertising and distributing controlled substances. His sentence reflects the seriousness of his involvement in the illegal activities.
Types of Controlled Substances Sold
During their operation on the darknet, Veronica Dittman, Rick Schiffner, and Devin Langer advertised and sold various controlled substances. These substances included crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills marketed as oxycodone. The sale of such potent and dangerous drugs posed a significant risk to public health and safety.
Quantity of Drugs Distributed
Over the course of their criminal activities, Dittman, Schiffner, and Langer distributed a substantial quantity of drugs. They distributed at least 800 grams of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, 500 grams of methamphetamine, 16 grams of heroin, and 7 grams of cocaine. The large quantities of drugs distributed highlight the scale of their operation and the potential harm it caused.
Description of Fentanyl-Laced Pills
One particularly dangerous aspect of their operation was the sale of fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills marketed as oxycodone. Fentanyl is an extremely potent synthetic opioid that is significantly more powerful than pharmaceutical-grade oxycodone. The conspirators described these pressed pills on the darknet as “Not normal OxyCodone,” warning potential customers that they were much stronger than legitimate medications. This misinformation put buyers at a heightened risk of overdosing and experiencing severe health consequences.
Veronica Dittman’s Role
Collaboration with Rick Schiffner
Veronica Dittman primarily collaborated with Rick Schiffner in the darknet drug operation. Together, they processed orders received through the various darknet pages they operated, prepared the drugs for shipment, and organized the logistics of the operation. Their collaboration was essential for the smooth functioning of their illegal business.
Operation of Own Vendor Accounts
In addition to working with Schiffner, Dittman also operated her own vendor accounts on the darknet. Under the monikers “VirtualPeddler” and “Darkette,” she independently made sales of controlled substances. These vendor accounts allowed her to reach additional customers and expand the reach of their illicit activities.
Number of Sales Made by Dittman
By the time of her arrest, Veronica Dittman had made at least 74 sales of controlled substances through her vendor accounts on the darknet. The majority of these sales involved fentanyl, highlighting the significant role she played in the distribution of this dangerous drug.
Definition and Description
The darknet, also known as the darkweb, is a part of the internet that is not indexed by standard search engines. It requires special software, such as Tor, to access. The darknet is intentionally designed to provide anonymity to its users, making it a hub for illegal activities.
Hidden Commercial Websites
One of the main features of the darknet is the presence of hidden commercial websites, known as darknet markets. These markets operate similarly to traditional e-commerce platforms, but they cater to illicit goods and services. Buyers and sellers on these markets typically use cryptocurrencies for transactions, further enhancing the level of anonymity for both parties involved.
Illicit Goods and Activities
The darknet hosts a wide range of illicit goods and activities. In addition to drugs like the ones Veronica Dittman, Rick Schiffner, and Devin Langer sold, other illegal products available on the darknet include weapons, counterfeit currency, stolen credit card details, forged documents, unlicensed pharmaceuticals, steroids, and more. The darknet also acts as a platform for various cybercrimes, such as hacking services, identity theft, and the sale of hacking tools.
Rick Schiffner’s Imprisonment
Rick Schiffner, one of the main collaborators in the darknet drug operation, was sentenced to 150 months imprisonment. This significant prison term reflects the severity of his role in the illegal activities and serves as a deterrent for others engaged in similar criminal enterprises.
Devin Langer’s Imprisonment
Devin Langer, another key collaborator in the darknet drug operation, received a prison sentence of 84 months. Langer’s involvement in the advertisement and distribution of controlled substances warranted a considerable term of imprisonment, highlighting the seriousness of his criminal actions.
Law Enforcement Agencies
The successful prosecution of Veronica Dittman, Rick Schiffner, and Devin Langer was made possible through the joint efforts of several law enforcement agencies. The following agencies played instrumental roles in the investigation and apprehension of the individuals involved in the darknet drug operation:
FBI Washington Field Office
The FBI Washington Field Office played a crucial role in the investigation and subsequent prosecution of the case. Their expertise in cybercrime and their dedication to combating illicit activities on the darknet contributed significantly to the successful outcome.
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) also played a significant role in the investigation. As a federal law enforcement agency focused on protecting the postal service and its customers, the USPIS provided vital support and resources to the case.
FDA Office of Criminal Investigations
The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Metro Washington Field Office contributed to the case through their expertise in investigating and enforcing laws related to pharmaceuticals. Their involvement highlights the importance of addressing the illegal distribution of counterfeit drugs.
Assistance in the Case
Several additional law enforcement agencies provided crucial assistance in the investigation and prosecution of Veronica Dittman, Rick Schiffner, and Devin Langer. The collaborative efforts of these agencies were invaluable in ensuring successful outcomes:
FBI Phoenix Field Office
The FBI Phoenix Field Office played a critical role in assisting with the investigation. Their local expertise and resources were instrumental in uncovering evidence and apprehending the individuals involved in the darknet drug operation.
USPIS Phoenix Division
The USPIS Phoenix Division provided essential support in the case, leveraging their expertise in postal inspection to uncover evidence and assist with the prosecution.
Homeland Security Investigations Phoenix
Homeland Security Investigations Phoenix lent their expertise in investigating and addressing cross-border criminal activities. Their involvement added a multidimensional approach to the case.
Pinal County Sheriff’s Office
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office contributed to the investigation through their local law enforcement resources and expertise. Their collaboration helped build a strong case against the individuals involved.
Arizona Department of Public Safety
The Arizona Department of Public Safety provided invaluable assistance in the investigation, leveraging their statewide jurisdiction and resources to support the case.
FBI Las Vegas Field Office
The FBI Las Vegas Field Office also provided essential assistance in the investigation. Their expertise and resources were instrumental in uncovering evidence and apprehending the individuals involved.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department collaborated with federal law enforcement agencies to provide vital support in apprehending the individuals involved in the darknet drug operation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Call diligently prosecuted the case against Veronica Dittman, Rick Schiffner, and Devin Langer. Her dedication to justice and extensive knowledge of federal prosecution contributed significantly to the successful outcome of the trial.
The sentencing of Veronica Dittman, Rick Schiffner, and Devin Langer marks a significant victory in the fight against darknet drug operations. The collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, USPIS, FDA, and various local law enforcement departments, led to the successful apprehension and prosecution of the individuals involved. With the support of Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Call, justice was served, and these individuals were held accountable for their illegal activities. The case highlights the ongoing need for continued vigilance and cooperation from law enforcement agencies to combat the illicit activities that take place on the darknet. The indictment and sentencing send a strong message to those who engage in such activities, reaffirming that the law will not tolerate the sale and distribution of controlled substances. The successful outcome of the case would not have been possible without the dedication and collaboration of the law enforcement agencies involved. Their collective efforts are instrumental in protecting public health and safety and ensuring a safer online environment for all. For further information or inquiries related to this case, please refer to the contact information provided.