Two U.K. men who pleaded guilty to selling drugs on the Silk Road Marketplace website were each sentenced to five years in jail, according to The Express & Star in the U.K.
Richard Hiley worked with Peter Ward, who was reported to be a major figure on the dark web and used the name PlutoPete. Ward commissioned Hiley, a former customer, to transfer bitcoins into cash.
The duo claimed to be running a legitimate business offering legal highs.
Ward called himself a “psychonaut,” specializing in military-grade foil packaging that could hide illegal materials from detection.
Ward also provided drug paraphernalia and legal drugs. Police arrested him in October of 2013 in Barnstaple, North Devon. They found thousands of postal receipts with customer details, computers and class A and B drugs. The computers included information about 5,235 sales over a two-year period. Most of the sales were for legal drugs, but there were 54 sales for class A and B drugs.
Ward also sent packages to prisons with drugs hidden on blotter paper. Police raided Hiley’s house in Oldbury in December of 2013 after Ward’s records indicated transactions between the two men.
Ward, 55, and Hiley, 30, pleaded guilty to 13 charges connected to the supply, possession, and importation of class A and B drugs.
Images of cocaine and meth on Hiley’s computer proved he had access to these drugs.
Hiley also admitted to two charges of importing a prohibited weapon after importing five stun guns he claimed were for personal protection.
Ward received five years and two months in prison while Hiley received five years at Birmingham Crown Court.
Ian Glover, an NCA branch commander, said criminals like to think the dark web is anonymous, but in reality, law enforcement works internationally to find these people.