Six Have Been Arrested In Connection To The HQ Trivia Founder's Fatal Drug Overdose
The drug business allegedly let customers order heroin and cocaine on the phone "with the same convenience as if they were ordering a pizza."
Six people were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of being involved with the New York City drug delivery service that sold the narcotics that caused Vine and HQ Trivia cofounder Colin Kroll's overdose death.
In an indictment filed by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the alleged drug dealers of the "Mike's Candyshop" delivery service were charged with conspiring to distribute heroin and cocaine.
On Dec. 16, 2018, Kroll was found dead of an overdose in his Manhattan apartment. He was 34.
The indictment does not name Kroll — identifying only a "Victim-1" — but says the man's body was found on Dec. 16 surrounded by drug paraphernalia and a cellphone that had texts on it showing he'd ordered drugs from Mike's Candyshop the previous day.
"This illicit enterprise allegedly allowed people to order heroin and cocaine to their doorstep simply by calling the business phone number with the same convenience as if they were ordering a pizza," said Homeland Security Investigations special agent Peter C. Fitzhugh.
Kroll's fatal overdose did not stop the drug dealers from selling cocaine and heroin, according to the indictment.
"Allegedly, even after they realized the potency of the drugs they were distributing and selling, the defendants continued to sell their poison," US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said.
To avoid police detection after the death, the dealers are said to have changed the service's phone number twice.
The alleged dealers — Ariel Tavarez, Christian Baez, Luis Meson, Gregoris Martinez, Kevin Grullon, and Joiffrey Urena — are expected to appear in court Thursday afternoon. Lawyers for the men could not immediately be located.
In the months before Kroll's death, HQ Trivia had been a viral sensation, drawing more than 1 million players each game to compete on the virtual live quiz show.
Following his death, Kroll's HQ Trivia cofounder, Rus Yusupov, said he would "forever remember him for his kind soul and big heart. He made the world and internet a better place. Rest in peace, brother."
The night after Kroll's death, then–HQ trivia host Scott Rogowsky dressed in a black suit and paid tribute to the founder, calling him a "true visionary."
"Colin was a good friend and colleague," Rogowsky said. "A person of compassion and generosity, and his sudden loss leaves all of us here at 'HQ HQ' shocked and deeply saddened."
The game was canceled for the night, with the $25,000 prize instead being donated to the Humane Society in Kroll's memory.
"We appreciate the messages of condolence that we've received from many of you in the HQ community," Rogowsky said. "Together, we will get through this. The show will go on, and it will do so forever indebted to the man and the mind who helped create it."