The fall of the Silk Road marketplace continues to reverberate around the world, this week leading to a number of university students going to jail for many years. The young men have been found guilty of selling party drugs and tranquilizers online for bitcoin.
Breaking Bad Gang
A group of University of Manchester students, nicknamed the ‘Breaking Bad Gang’ by the British press, have been convicted of dealing drugs on the dark web market Silk Road for bitcoin. On Wednesday they were sentenced to long prison terms by the Manchester Crown Court.
The group has been found guilty of trafficking illicit drugs to clients all over the world, including Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand, as well as in their home town of Manchester. The UK authorities have reportedly been alerted to their operations after the Silk Road marketplace was taken over by US investigators.
The so-called university gang included pharmacology, computer science, petrochemical engineering, geology and marketing students. They were found to be selling ecstasy, LSD, 2C-B and ketamine, worth over a million dollars in total from May 2011 to October 2013. UK National Crime Agency officers who raided their apartment said they discovered “what can only be described as a drug dealing factory”. According to the local press reports they also didn’t hide their wealth very well and used some of the proceeds for holidays in Jamaica, the Bahamas and Amsterdam.
Joshua Morgan, 28, has been sentenced for seven years and two months. James Roden, 25, has been sentenced to twelve years. Jaikishen Patel, 26, has been sentenced for eleven years and two months. Elliott Hyams, 26, has been sentenced for eleven years and three months. Basil Assaf, 26, has been has been sentenced for fifteen years and three months.
According to reports from the court, Circuit Judge Michael Leeming told the young men: “To all intents and purposes, you operated a one-stop shop, cutting out the middle man. The use of the dark web is an aggravating feature, not a mitigating one. That should be made clear. You all knew the score and the scale of what was going on. As intelligent young men you will all each appreciate that that misery is caused and certainly contributed to by people like you.”
A similar case was recently uncovered on the other side of the pond, where Navy investigators have busted an alleged drug ring at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Why are there so many bitcoin-related drug cases coming to light recently? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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