The last of three individuals behind the PolarSprings darknet market vendor name was sentenced on Weds, Mar 22, convicted of conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing fentanyl. Alex Ogando, of Rhode Island, USA, will serve 12 years behind bars for his role in selling thousands fentanyl-containing pills on darknet markets between 2018 and 2021. His two co-conspirators, Olatunji Dawodu and Luis Spencer, both of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, had previously been convicted with similar sentences.
With the help of Dawodu and Spencer, Ogando is said to have sold fentanyl among other drugs on “numerous” darknet markets, including Wall Street, Empire, Icarus, Deep Sea, and ToRReZ, with the help of two co-conspirators. He primarily accepted Bitcoin for payment on all the markets on which he operated as a vendor.
Mugshots of Ogando and Dawodu. Source: WFTV.com
According to court documents, the vendor duo’s most popular product was a fentanyl-containing pill pressed in the shape of an Oxycontin M30 pill, which he frequently described as “pressed just right with fent” in the product description. The two operated out of New England and sold the drugs to US-based buyers. Between Jun 2019 and May 2021, undercover FBI agents made six separate purchases from the vendor on the Empire market, identifying fentanyl as the only psychoactive substance within them.
Upon reception of the final undercover pill order, the FBI found a fingerprint belonging to Spencer on the USPS Priority Mail envelope used to mail the purchase, providing enough evidence to file a search warrant for his Florida residence which was shred with Dawodu. During the execution of the search warrant, agents found over 1,200 grams of fentanyl-containing pills, along with USPS envelopes, vacuum-sealing bags, gloves, and packaging materials.
A search warrant was also executed at Ogando’s Rhode Island residence on the same day where agents found over 1,700 grams of pills, $350,000 in cash, and a money counter. Also found was a seed phrase for a Bitcoin wallet labeled “P.Springs,” which was assumed to be in reference to their vendor name, PolarSprings.
The arrests were part of “Operation Dark HunTor,” which netted the capture of 150 individuals thought to be involved in darknet market sales across the US, Europe, and Australia.