We know that the Dark Web has become a breeding ground for malicious activities and crimes. Drug trading is an evil trade by all means and when it is conducted via the Dark Web, chances of preventing detection by law enforcement are quite bright. However, the case of 34-year old Richard Charles Patrick Sinclair and 26-year old Kyle James Hall tells a completely different story.
Belfast Telegraph reports that the duo was involved in the drug trade on the Dark Web. Sinclair, from Cranagh Road, Coleraine, Co Londonderry UK, ran the trade from his grandmother’s house while Hall from Chamberlain Street, east Belfast, carried out this scheme from his home.
It must be noted that there is another co-accused, the 29-year old Stephen Rodgers from Glynn Park Close, Carrickfergus, Co Antrim. Since his involvement in the crime was described in court as of “pasty” in nature, therefore, he received the sentence of 240 hours of community service. The Irish Times reported that Rodgers was accused of supplying Class-A, Class-B and Class-C drugs as well as converting criminal property. Sinclair has received 7 year jail time whereas Hall has been given 5 years sentence. The sentence was passed by Justice Geoffrey Miller QC.
According to documents filed in the court by the law enforcement authorities, Sinclair bought drugs from Holland and distributed it via the Dark Web where he received payment in bitcoin and delivered the drugs to customers by hiding them inside DVD covers. He was charged with numerous offenses including possession of Class-A drug with intention of supply and importing Class-A drug.
Police obtained search warrants in August 2016 and searched Sinclair’s home where he was staying with his grandmother and using one of the rooms in the house to carry out the drug trade. The police found him inside the bedroom trying to destroy “evidence” from his computer. From his home, detectives discovered 5 sealed packages bearing names and addresses of Sinclair’s customers. The packages were already stamped and ready for postage. Three of them were full of DVD covers all filled with MDMA powder while two packages contained £1,500 in total and were sent by Hall.
Naturally, detectives believed that Sinclair had received payment from Hall for delivering 3,000 tablets of Class-A drug LSD. Under the computer desk, the police found a tin box containing 70gm of MDMA and 310 LSD tablets. Officers discovered £6,000 cash from a cash box. Countless DVD covers, vacuum sealing device, brown cardboard envelopes, modified deodorant containers and a box of latex gloves were among other stuff found from Sinclair’s home.
According to Philip Henry, the state prosecutor, Sinclair’s computer screen displayed “a list showing details of hundreds of drugs transactions.” The computer was then inspected by the PSNI Cyber Crime division and emails sent to customers were recovered from the device. Reportedly, Sinclair used to ask customers to send secured packages to an Armagh based mailbox service.
The accused were presented before Belfast Crown Court. Judge Miller who told Hall that he will be serving 33 months in jail and the same time on the license when he gets out. However, the sentence will be shortened because both Hall and Sinclair have spent 10 months on remand.
The judge explained that this was a “sophisticated and commercial operation which generated several hundred thousand pounds in revenue from an evil trade in drugs.” He further noted that the Dark Web is being used for selling a range of drugs secretly in huge quantities and there is a large customer base for such drugs. Law enforcement and cyber-crime units must take due action to curb the increasing dominance of the Dark Web in facilitating such criminal activities.