Student drug kingpin jailed

Using the Dark Web and untraceable bitcoin, the gang were able to order illicit substances by post. Photo: mattza @Flickr

A Leeds student has been jailed for four years after running a lucrative drug ring using the Dark Web.

Liam Reynolds and a group of friends, who studied International Business at what was then Leeds Metropolitan University (now Beckett), used the now-disabled Silk Road website to buy and import drugs using the bitcoin cryptocurrency.

The operation was run out of a student house in Headingley Mount, a suburb of Leeds, where members of the group lived.

Using the Dark Web—a part of the internet not indexed by search engines, which needs specific software to be accessed—the gang ordered shipments of illegal drugs including LSD, MDMA and cannabis from abroad.

Once the deliveries had been received, they profited by selling it on to fellow students. They were able to get away with this by using the untraceable bitcoin.

After police received a tip-off that the gang had involvement in the trade of illegal drugs, they uncovered the operation and seized, amongst other things, a large shipment of cannabis and the men’s phones and laptops.

They found text messages making overt references to drugs and photos of the friends with drugs and money. The gang was charged in May last year.

Liam Reynolds.

Reynolds had apparently modelled himself on Breaking Bad character Walter White, a man who leaves his job as a teacher and builds a drug empire. Text messages and a T-shirt referring to the American TV show were found by police.

Liam Reynolds was sentenced to four years in prison at Leeds Crown Court last week for conspiracy to import and supply ecstasy, conspiracy to import and supply LSD, conspiracy to import and supply cannabis, and money laundering.


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