Teen, 5 others arrested for scheme involving cryptocurrency, the dark web, and guns

ORLANDO, Fla. — Six people have been arrested, all facing charges linked to what Florida’s Attorney General called a complex criminal enterprise.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said a 17-year-old Orlando teen was the mastermind behind an elaborate scheme involving cryptocurrency, the dark web, and guns.

Moody and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Justin Vassell used cryptocurrency to get money off the dark web and launder it around Orlando.


Investigators said Vassell used cryptocurrency to buy bundles of stolen ids off the dark web, then opened credit cards under those names, and bought $350,000 worth of merchandise, including guns and dozens of packs of ammunition.

Investigators said those items were then sold to pawn shops around Orlando.

Earlier this week, Vassell and his mom, Jacqueline Vassell, were arrested in Osceola County.

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Lawrence Dority was arrested in Orange County and was out on bond on a second-degree murder charge from last May.

Dority is accused of killing former Magic player Adreian Payne.

FDLE had to track three other suspects from across the country.

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Justin’s sister, Shannon Vassell, and Marc Williams were arrested in Suwannee County, Georgia.

Deonte Benejan was arrested in Lorain County, Ohio.

FDLE said the group took advantage of more than 70 people and ten online businesses.

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While all six face charges for racketeering, money laundering and extortion, Vassell also faces charges for grand theft.

If convicted the 17-year-old could face up to 135 years in prison.

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