UoM students jailed for running dark web drug empire

Postado Março 24, 2018

Four university students - two from Amersham - who trafficked drugs via the "dark web" of the internet will be sentenced later.

The activities of Basil Assaf, 26, Elliott Hyams, 26, James Roden, 25, and Jaikishen Patel, 26, came to light when the United States authorities seized the servers of the Silk Road website in October 2013.

The men, who are all from London, ran their operation on the Silk Road website, hidden on the dark web, from May 2011 onwards until the Federal Bureau of Investigation brought it down in October 2013 and seized its servers.

They began selling in May 2011, after being inspired by the TV series Breaking Bad.

Assaf, now of Corringway, Ealing; Hyams, now of Barnsbury Street, Islington; Roden, of Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill, and Patel, of Woodford Avenue, Ilford, all pleaded guilty at earlier hearings to various counts of conspiracy to importing, exporting and supplying controlled drugs.

The defendants enjoyed a lifestyle "far above that of typical students", Manchester crown court was told.

Assaf also boasted of his fondness for Veuve Clicquot rose champagne and that he had enough money to pay for his education and buy a flat in Manchester city centre. Their recorded sales were around $1.14 million, but their total sales using the digital payment system Bitcoin were greater because they bypassed the sites' payment system to avoid paying its commission. "No one could find out how many bitcoins accumulated and are stored elsewhere".

In another message he said: 'Me and Jamie have accepted we're more than happy to do time for all of this. "If btc continues going up whilst we're inside there's a chance we'll come out with mills".

Joined by Elliott Hyams, 26, James Roden, 25, and Jaikishen Patel, 26, the gang imported, exported and supplied ecstasy, 2CB, LSD and ketamine.

Sentencing, Judge Michael Leeming told the defendants: "The message must go out that those who engage in these sort of activities, whether on the dark web or on more open view, with high levels of profits or some other advantage in mind can expect to receive substantial prison sentences". Misery and degradation is the typical result.

"As intelligent young men you will all each appreciate that that misery is caused and certainly contributed to by people like you". Joshua Morgan, 28, who mailed the drugs to buyers, was jailed for seven years.