A San Diego woman nicknamed “the drug llama” was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Illinois for conspiring to distribute fentanyl through the so-called dark web, the Justice Department announced.
Melissa Scanlan, 31, is accused of conspiring with others to operate an online drug business that resulted in more than 400 grams of fentanyl being distributed throughout the United States, according to the indictment. It also alleges that she was part of an international money laundering conspiracy.
Ms. Scanlan, who was arrested Sept. 6, made her first court appearance the same day, the Justice Department said. During a detention hearing on Sept. 17, prosecutors alleged Ms. Scanlan was responsible for shipping more than 50,000 fentanyl pills across the country, including into southern Illinois.
She is awaiting transfer to the Southern District of Illinois to face charges.
The dark web is a portion of the internet unreachable by traditional search engines and web browsers. Websites on the dark web have complex web addresses that are encrypted and can only be accessed through the use of special software.
“The dark web is a dangerous underworld where anonymous web browsers and cryptocurrencies combine to create the perfect breeding ground for criminal activity,” said United States Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft. “We will continue to shine light into the dark web to expose those who lurk in the shadows of the internet.”
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