‘Real-Life Superhero’ Phoenix Jones Charged With Selling Ecstasy And Coke
‘Real life superhero’ Phoenix Jones has been charged with selling ecstasy and cocaine after an undercover drugs bust.
Phoenix Jones is the alter ego of Seattle resident Ben Fodor, an MMA fighter and leader of the Rain City Superhero Movement, an organisation established in 2011 by costume-wearing activists who describe themselves as a ‘crime-fighting brigade’.
Fodor would dress up in a black and gold costume with a mask and fake six-pack abs before taking to the streets to fight crime and break up violence.
However, the MMA fighter has since found himself on the wrong side of the law, as last year two confidential witnesses told a Seattle police narcotics detective that Jones was a drug dealer.
Fodor, 31, and his girlfriend Andrea Berendsen, 26, were arrested on January 9 but were released from jail two days later, pending further investigation by police.
On Monday, January 27, Fodor was charged with two counts of Violation of the Uniform Control Substances Act (VUCSA).
After receiving the tip last year, the detective – who is assigned to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Task Force operated by Homeland Security Investigations – organised a text exchange with Fodor.
According to the charges, cited by the Seattle Times, a special agent assigned to the task force arranged to buy $500 worth of MDMA from the suspect, and Fodor reportedly requested $300 be paid upfront via his online Venmo account.
On November 21, 2019, Fodor arrived at a Starbucks to deliver the drugs to an undercover agent who went by the name ‘Mike’. The agent handed over the remaining $200 and Fodor placed a bag on the table in front of the agent. The entire encounter was said to have taken less than a minute.
Other agents, who were observing the exchange from outside the building, saw Fodor leave and get into the driver’s seat of a car with a woman in the front passenger seat. He later texted ‘Mike’ to say ‘thank you’.
The paper bag apparently contained a purple-coloured powder, which was weighed and tested. It was found to be a little over seven grams of MDMA. The bag also held empty capsules for street packaging.
‘Mike’ attempted to arrange another exchange with the dealer, but Fodor was a no-show. In an effort to catch the MMA fighter in action once again, the agent created a new undercover identity, ‘Laura’, and reached out to Fodor on January 6 with a request to buy $225 worth of cocaine.
Fodor and ‘Laura’ exchanged text messages across three days, and at one point Fodor gave ‘Laura’ his full name and encouraged her to Google him.
‘Laura’ went on to explain they had friends from Los Angeles in town for one of their birthdays and she was responsible for getting cocaine for the group. On the night of the ‘party’, ‘Laura’ also received text messages from Fodor’s girlfriend, Berendsen.
Fodor and Berendsen arrived at a hotel in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood just before 11pm on January 9, and an arrest team moved in and took them both into custody. Agents seized four grams of cocaine along with a set of scales and empty bindles with suspected cocaine residue in a box Fodor was carrying.
Fodor’s two charges relate to the two exchanges organised by the undercover detectives; one for selling MDMA to the undercover agent in November 2019, and the second for showing up to the hotel with cocaine in January. Berendsen has been charged with one count of VUCSA.
Both Fodor and Berendsen are scheduled to appear in court on February 3.
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CreditsThe Seattle Times
The Seattle Times