Guilty plea entered drug death of Vine founder Colin Kroll


The head of a drug trafficking organization pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday to conspiring to distribute heroin, cocaine and fentanyl, including the drugs that caused the death in 2018 by Colin Kroll, co-founder of video hosting service Vine and the HQ Trivia trivia app.

Ariel Tavarez ran an on-demand delivery service known as “Mike’s Candyshop” that sold addictive and dangerous drugs to customers throughout New York City, said Manhattan lawyer Audrey Strauss. She said Mr. Tavarez sometimes secretly mixed drugs with deadly synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl.

“Thanks to the tireless efforts of law enforcement, Mike’s Candyshop is closed for good,” Ms. Strauss said.

Mr. Kroll, the 34-year-old CEO of the startup, was discovered dead in his Manhattan apartment in 2018, and the New York medical examiner’s office later ruled that the cause of death was an accidental overdose of heroin containing fentanyl.

An investigation showed that Mr Kroll had ordered narcotics by text message from the Candyshop delivery service on several occasions from his mobile phone, including the day before his death. Customers texted their heroin and cocaine delivery slips to what was known as the Candyshop Number, which only sold to customers who had referrals, prosecutors said.


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