Phoenix Jones, Seattle 'Superhero' Vigilante and MMA Fighter, Arrested for Selling MDMA and Cocaine

A Seattle man who patrolled the city's streets in a costume and described himself as a "superhero" has found himself on the wrong side of the law after police arrested and charged him for allegedly selling drugs.

Ben Fodor, 31, was the leader of a group of costumed characters known as "The Rain City Superheroes" under the pseudonym "Phoenix Jones" until the group was dissolved in 2014. He was charged Monday on two counts related to dealing narcotics, according to The Seattle Times.

Police said Fodor was caught selling MDMA, also known ecstasy, to an undercover officer in November. His girlfriend Andrea Berendsen, 26, is also alleged to have been involved in a scheme to sell cocaine to undercover agents in January.

Court documents reportedly indicate that a Seattle narcotics officer initiated a series of text messages with Fodor in November 2019 after having earlier been tipped off to Fodor's alleged drug dealings. The officer arranged to buy $500 worth of MDMA, which Fodor allegedly agreed to on the condition that $300 would be sent in advance to his Venmo payment account. He is said to have then met an agent at a Starbucks coffee shop, where he delivered a brown paper bag containing around seven grams of the drug in exchange for the $200 balance.

A second attempt at a meeting to purchase another $500 of MDMA was made nearly a week later, but Fodor did not show up. The agent created a new persona and arranged a different drug deal on January 6. Fodor was arrested three days later when the exchange was allegedly made, with police confiscating four grams of cocaine during that transaction.

As "Phoenix Jones," Fodor urged drug dealers to refrain from their activities in Seattle and instead "sell somewhere else," according to a November 2010 article in the magazine Seattle Met.

The former self-described superhero also competed in mixed martial arts and reportedly relied on some of those skills in his costumed persona. Public reactions to his supposed crime-fighting activities were mixed. In recent years, his activities as "Phoenix Jones" have trailed off.

Fodor announced that he was retiring as a self-proclaimed superhero in 2019, claiming to be tired of attempting to solve the problems of Seattle, although he said he might put on his armored costume again if there is "a riot in the city."

"I'm not saying I'm never going to fight another crime," said Fodor in a March 2019 interview with NW NERD Podcast. "I'm just saying I don't owe you anything anymore. I don't feel like I owe people anything anymore. I used to feel like because I have this power it was my duty to use it, but it's not."

"If you're not using your ability to help people, I'm not using my ability to help people unless I want to," he added. "If I see a crime in front of me, I'm going to take care of it. But I don't own anybody anything anymore. I have a very special skill set and you no longer get to use it if you're not gonna play your part."

Law enforcement have always been skeptical of Fodor's superhero status. He was arrested in 2011 after allegedly dousing a group of people with pepper spray in an attempt to "break up" a street brawl that police later said did not happen. While charges against Fodor were eventually dropped, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes described him as "no hero, just a deeply misguided individual" after the incident.

Newsweek reached out to the Seattle Police Department for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Fodor and Berendsen are scheduled to make an appearance in court on February 3.

Correction 1/29, 10:31 p.m.: This article has been updated to correct the title of the referenced podcast from "NW Nerds Podcast" to "NW NERD Podcast."

Phoenix Jones 2011
Self-proclaimed Seattle "superhero" Phoenix Jones, pictured with actor Rainn Wilson and director James Gunn at the 2011 premiere of "Super" in Hollywood, California on March 21, 2011. Kevin Winter/Getty