One of the top sellers of drugs on the Silk Road online drug marketplace was sentenced today to 60 months in federal prison.
Steven Lloyd Sadler, who went by the online handle "Nod," pled guilty (PDF) to conspiracy to distribute cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. He had been cooperating with the government "for months" when he appeared in court in October 2013, but statements by prosecutors suggested that he stopped cooperating at some point.
Sadler’s home in Bellevue, Washington, was raided and searched in July of that year, not long after authorities performed a controlled buy via the “Nod” account. There, investigators seized heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, a .45 caliber pistol, and more.
According to the government, Sadler was in the top one percent of sellers on the site. In the last four months of the Silk Road's existence, the complaint said Sadler sold more than 2,600 grams of cocaine, nearly 600 grams of heroin, and 105 grams of methamphetamine. Other months of drug sales couldn't be tallied.
Sadler was charged on October 2, 2013, the day after Ross Ulbricht was arrested. Ulbricht was charged as being the "Dread Pirate Roberts" who masterminded the site; he was tried earlier this year in New York, and last month a jury found him guilty on all counts. He will be sentenced in May.
According to a 2013 article in the Daily Dot, Sadler violated the terms of his bond, using drugs and skipping town in late October of that year. Sadler "felt betrayed" by the police, thinking his cooperation would warrant better treatment. He was kicked out of the condo where he'd been living for seven years. His life on the lam didn't last long, though; by late November, he was back in custody.
In its sentencing today, the court recommended that Sadler be placed at the federal prison camp in Yankton, South Dakota, a minimum-security facility.
By Joe Mullin - Ars Technica/March 24, 2015