Dealers on notorious Silk Road drugs website sentenced to 10 years for Bitcoin racket

Two drug dealers who operated on the shadowy Silk Road website selling crack cocaine and meth have been jailed for a combined 10 years.

Dealers on notorious Silk Road drugs website sentenced to 10 years for Bitcoin racket

Richard Hiley, from Oldbury, worked alongside Peter Ward, who was said to have been a huge figure on the so called 'dark web' and went by the online name PlutoPete.

Former customer Hiley been commissioned by Ward to turn electronic currency bitcoins into cash.

Bitcoin is a currency favoured among drug dealers as it bypasses banks and offers extra layers of anonymity in transactions.

Peter Ward

The pair claimed they were running a legitimate business selling legal highs. Ward, who described himself as a pyschonaut, specialised in supplying military-grade foil packaging that claimed to hide illegal materials from detection.

He also provided legal highs and drug paraphernalia, but was arrested in Barnstaple, North Devon, in October 2013, at a time when marketplaces such as the Silk Road II, which can not be accessed without special software, were being targeted by international law enforcement agencies.

Officers found class A and B drugs, numerous computers and thousands of Post Office receipts with customer details.

His computers revealed details of 5,235 sales over two years. While most were legal sales, there were 54 involving Class A and B drugs.

Ward had also been sending 'care packages' of drugs hidden on blotter paper into prisons.

Hiley posted this image of himself with his drivers licence to prove his credentials
Bags of cocaine, in an image found on Hiley's computer to prove to customers he had access to the drugs- Police found dozens of transactions involving Class A drugs

Hiley's Oldbury house was raided in December 2013 after Ward's financial records revealed large transactions between the pair.

Ward, 55, and Hiley pleaded guilty to 13 charges relating to the possession, supply and importation of Class A and B drugs.

Hiley, 30, of Oakthorpe Gardens, also admitted two charges of importing a prohibited weapon after he imported five stun guns 'for personal protection'.

Today Ward was jailed for five years and two months, while Hiley was given five years at Birmingham Crown Court.

24/06/2013 - RichieRich (Hiley) to realbrandnew re: rules…"just ordered 50grams of meth so we can really sell it you can do hole g's, half's and 150mg bits and il do 3.5, 5, 7 and 14g's listings its getting expressed from the states so will be 4-5 days il send you 10 grams when it comes and you can pay it off once you sell it."

21/07/2013 - "Bitcoins (Hiley) to PlutoPete (Ward) "im so behind I brang matt to answer messages and I have a new girl who is doing 4hrs a day and made a contact in London who might buy happyman off me for a lump sum and a commsion, I have 66 messages and 28 orders witting here the more messages I answer the more they reply and keep on building….just got 14g of meth and the load from the company still to sell but had a good night in London but now need a team of helpers"

Ian Glover, NCA Branch Commander, said: "Criminals and their customers like to think that dark web market places provide an anonymous haven.

"The reality is that law enforcement works together internationally to identify and pursue these people.

"As in Ward's case, dealers often don't take any care in handling personal details of customers. We are working with our law enforcement partners to further identify and pursue those illegally trading in drugs and firearms online."

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