Man pleads guilty to charges related to online drug distribution

A man who distributed fentanyl in Illinois and throughout the country pleaded guilty on July 16 to all charges against him. The 34-year-old man was known as "The Drug Llama" online, where he sold the drugs on the dark web's "Dream Market," a place people went to get illegal substances.

The man was taken into custody in San Diego. In January, he was indicted along with a 31-year-old woman who was also accused of maintaining the account with him. The man was charged with one count of misbranding drugs, one count of selling counterfeit drugs, five counts of illegally distributing fentanyl and one count of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl. He will be sentenced on Oct. 29.

The woman continues to maintain her innocence and will go to trial on Aug. 27. However, as part of his guilty plea, the man says he worked with the woman distributing 1,000 acetyl fentanyl and fentanyl pills weekly.

Conviction on even relatively minor drug offenses can have serious consequences even beyond the legal, such as affecting a person's career or access to housing. An attorney may be able to advise a person on the options available. This case illustrates two different approaches people may take when they are facing drug charges. Pleading guilty instead of going to trial can make it possible to work out a deal with the prosecution and avoid a lengthier sentence than a person would receive if found guilty in court. However, people may also choose to plead not guilty and go to trial. The choice could depend in part on the strength of evidence that the prosecution has. An attorney may also look at other elements of the case as well. For example, evidence might have been obtained illegally or mishandled, or a person's rights may have been violated.

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