Two men in Ireland, one a bitcoin trader, pled guilty to selling drugs on the darknet to customers worldwide, according to The Irish Examiner. The bitcoin trader posted drug orders to different countries after trading bitcoin. He admitted to selling drugs on Silk Road and Agora.
Police charged Richard O’Connor and Neil Mannion, both 34 years old and from Dublin, with possessing drugs valued at €143,000 following a police raid at a south Dublin business premise in October of 2014. Comparing the enterprise to Amazon or eBay, Detective Sergeant Brian Roberts said the darknet is a phenomenon that is the modern era of drug dealing and is growing.
The pair pled guilty to possession of cannabis resin, amphetamine and LSD with intent to supply or sell at Bank House Business Centre on Nov. 5, 2014. Neither has prior convictions.
Mannion established the online drug business while O’Connor received €600 weekly to post packages sent to customers in the U.S., Argentina, Japan and the Czech Republic, police told the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Court To Reconvene Monday
Judge Martin Nolan said he would address the case on Monday at 2 p.m. after he thinks about it. He remanded the pair in custody until that time.
Roberts told Caroline Cummings, the prosecutor, that he placed Mannion under surveillance after receiving information about an IP address on the computer. Police then followed Mannion’s car to the business address and obtained a search warrant. The police then found both men on the premises along with a container for the drugs, weighing scales, a vacuum packing machine, envelopes and labels for posting.
Mannion told police in a series of interviews that the operation was a marketplace like any other. He explained that he posted drug orders to different countries after doing bitcoin trades. He admitted to selling drugs on Agora and Silk Road.
Lawyer Downplays Bitcoin Trader’s Actions
Michael O’Higgins, who defended Mannion, said accessing the darknet is not hard and anyone who is marginally tech savvy could do it. O’Higgins argued that Mannion did not make significant money from selling drugs, nor did he lead an extravagant lifestyle.
O’Connor’s lawyer, Sean Geurin, said O’Connor was not the target of the surveillance and had experienced drug problems at the time. He said O’Connor has since become clean and had a bright future in the film industry.
Roberts agreed with both lawyers that the pair were cooperative and not likely to be showing up in court again.
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