A self-styled “psychonaut” who sold crack cocaine and crystal meth on the dark web has been jailed for five years and two months.
Peter Ward, who was known online as PlutoPete, sold illegal drugs as well as legal highs using the secretive Silk Road marketplace. He would also provide prisoners with “care packages” of drugs hidden in blotting paper. Ward was jailed at Birmingham crown court after admitting 13 counts linked to the possession, supply and importation of class A and B drugs, the National Crime Agency said. He was sentenced alongside Richard Hiley, who converted bitcoin into cash for Ward, as well as dealing drugs himself.
Hiley, 30, from Oldbury, West Midlands – who used online names including RichieRich and happyman – admitted the same charges as well as two counts of importing stun guns, and was jailed for five years.
Officers from the NCA first arrested Ward in Barnstaple, Devon, in October 2013 as part of a crackdown on the dark web, a network of unlisted and hard-to-trace websites often used for crime. He ran a business that sold foil packaging that he claimed could stop drugs being detected, as well as legal highs and drug paraphernalia.
When his home was searched, class A and B drugs were found, and among details of thousands of legal transactions were 54 relating to illegal drugs. Hiley’s home was raided in December 2013, and NCA officers found records of 242 sales of cocaine, cannabis and crystal meth. They also found messages detailing how he had to employ “a team of helpers” as business boomed.
One customer sent a message saying they had spent three weeks in hospital after taking drugs. The user LongRiver said to Hiley: “Hello, how to say it ... I spent three weeks in hospital; the stuff was not good for my body. I fail to die. Are you sure of the quality of your production?”
Ian Glover from the NCA said: “Criminals and their customers like to think that dark web marketplaces provide an anonymous haven. The reality is that law enforcement works together internationally to identify and pursue these people. We are working with our law enforcement partners to further identify and pursue those illegally trading in drugs and firearms online.”
The Guardian/Feb. 29, 2016
Photos: 1. background - Guardian; 2 Ward -cryptocoinsnews