The Dark Web is often given mythological status in the media, but the dangers that exist on it are undoubtedly real. If you want illegal narcotics, assassins, hacking software, or deviant pornography, chances are you will find it on the Dark Web. For this reason, the non-indexed pages of this infamous component to the so-called "Deep Web" are heavily monitored by authorities like Interpol and other agencies from numerous countries. It is this reality that a group of Dark Web drug traffickers are dealing with as news of their sentencing is making the rounds in the media. As reported in a press release by the UK’s National Crime Agency, Jake Levene, Lee Childs, and Mandy Christopher Lowther were sentenced to a cumulative of 43 years in prison for “exporting and supplying class A drugs.” The trio pleaded guilty as the case against them was heavily stacked with evidence of their wrongdoing.
The NCA describes the crimes committed by Levene, Childs, and Lowther as follows:
The organised crime group (OCG) mixed fentanyl — which is up to 100 times stronger than morphine — and its analogue carfentanyl — which is 10,000 times stronger, with bulking agents at an industrial unit in Peel Street in Morley, Leeds. The drugs would then be sold over the dark web under the business name “UKBargins.”
They sold 2,853 items to 443 customers worldwide with 172 in the UK. Between December 2016 and April 2017 they turned over £163,474. NCA investigators identified that six British people from the OCG’s customer list have died from issues related to fentanyl consumption, although it cannot be said with certainty the fentanyl they took was supplied by Levene, Childs and Lowther.
The raid and arrest of the trio took place in April 2017 after a long time of law enforcement task force surveillance. The group was not nearly as careful as they thought they were, as the electronic paper trail (and surveillance video) led investigators to their website “UKBargains” and subsequently their base of operations.
With opioids being such a major issue in society’s fight against drug abuse, this is a win for the good guys. Let this be a cautionary tale to cybercriminals on the Dark Web. You are never truly anonymous on the Internet.
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