Three MDMA vendors recently stood in a courtroom and heard potential prison sentences of eight years, if convicted. The three, John P., a 57-year-old, Bram V., a 27-year-old., and Thomas P., a 26-year-old sold “huge quantities of drugs through the dark web,” the prosecution claimed. The court mentioned that Dutch MDMA carried a reputation as the best on the market. These three men carried a different reputation—according to law enforcement—for their “sloppiness.”

In fact, their sloppiness led to their own demise, the officer who stumbled upon the first vendor said. Since 2014, police wanted to track down the identity behind a darknet vendor profile, Holland Online. The investigation took a surprising turn, court documents said. An observant police officer noticed what he considered suspicious activity involving a car, partially based on the way the driver parked the car.

The primary suspect, prosecutors claimed, bought and sold large amounts of drugs on the darknet. The co-defendants, too, sold on the darknet—under three different usernames. They used Amsterdam United, The Heineken and Albert Heijn, but investigators have not linked the names of the defendants to the pseudonyms. At least not beyond what the defendants called “possible coincidences.”

On December 16, 2014, a police officer witnessed what he believed to be an extremely sloppy drug deal. He explained that these type of drug deals often happen at particular parking spaces and are often very conspicuous.

The officer—one of the key witnesses—recorded the license plate of the car and pulled it over a few minutes later. The car belonged to John P., the man responsible for delivering drugs to Bram V., the investigators later discovered. The drug trafficker packed his trunk with drugs and intended to deliver them to Bram V.

Police began an investigation after the aforementioned drug deal and determined that John P., and/or Bram V., operated on the darknet as Albert Heijn. They obtained enough evidence or information to execute a search warrant. Officers recognised the elder of the two men from photographs of drug deals and connected the dots.

Asking with the first two, police hunted down the 26-year-old Thomas P., for the same crime. The 26-year-old admitted that he operated the Albert Heijn pseudonym starting February 20, 2015. He refused, however, to reveal any further details. Specifically details regarding the identity of the amount’s operator prior to the date he took control of the account.

Bram V. denied all charges placed against him. “Just because an agent said he recognized me in a picture does not mean it was truly me,” he said. “I’m framed, what has been done is not the truth,” he told the court. The investigating officer argued that the man was less innocent than he claimed during the hearing. He said that Bram V., dealt in Bitcoin routinely and went on vacations at the same time as Amsterdam United.

John P. confessed to his darknet ventures out of curiosity, according to his statement to the court. “It’s as simple as downloading and installing Skype on your computer,” he said. He started with only a few pills and the business rapidly grew until it “went over the limit.”

John P., faces only six years in prison while Bram V. and Thomas P. face a mandatory eight, if convicted.

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