After relying on the supposed anonymity of bitcoin, members of a ring that imported drugs into the United Kingdom with the help of the dark web were sentenced to over 30 years in jail. It is thought the gang sold over 1 kilo of drugs over four months in 2017, TheNextWeb reported.
According to the prosecutor, cash of at least £45,037 was recovered along with drugs valued at roughly £61,000. The gang leader reportedly managed the operation at the flat of his girlfriend at the time. He also reportedly recruited two individuals to distribute the drugs.
The gang leader also reported made a property on the edge of the city of Leeds into a factory for drugs. As a diversion, he was reportedly in the process of making the property into the gym. Border officials, however, were able to get a hold of packages that had drugs inside. The gang leader received 11 and a half years in jail (and a driving disqualification of seven and a half years), while his ex-girlfriend was sentenced to five years. One of the individuals involved in the ring received seven years and four months, while the other got eight years.
In other recent crypto crime news, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced in late March that its Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team shut down 50 darknet accounts used for illicit activity as well as made 61 arrests. The agency said in a press release that the effort, part of Operation SaboTor, resulted in the execution of 65 search warrants, seizing more than $7 million as well as 51 firearms and 299.5 kilograms of drugs. With the funds, $4.5 million was in digital currency as well as $40,000 in gold and $2.48 million in cash.
“Criminals have always adopted innovations and new technologies to achieve their illicit goals, and it’s our job to adapt and remain ahead of the threat,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in the press release. “Operation SaboTor demonstrates not only the strength of our partnerships across the U.S. government and abroad but how we’re able to capitalize on those partnerships to disrupt criminal activity, even when they try to hide it on the Darknet.”