Dark Web Drug Dealer: A computer geek who had become a significant drug dealer of the dark web in the bid to fund his addiction to gambling on the stock market has finally been jailed for over 11 years (that is more than 132 months). The accused has been identified as Joe Richens aged 31, who has imported vast quantities of the high purity ecstasy and cocaine that had skillfully been hidden in the kids’ toys and packets of coffee. He had utilized the dark web and also conducted encryption of phones and cryptocurrency in order to run a one-person drug empire between the years 2012 and 2018.
A court has also heard that Richens, of Kingston, Warwickshire, has made hundreds of thousands of pounds from the drug trade being a drug dealer that he had carried out, spent on the gambling addiction on the stock market.
The accused has now been jailed for eleven and a half years after he had been admitted to the drug smuggling, money laundering and drug dealing.
Judge Anthony Potter told him: “You are someone who has chosen to misuse the obvious talents you have in the full knowledge of the harm and misery drugs bring to people. Drugs spread wholesale misery to families up and down the United Kingdom. You, as an intelligent man, would have known all of this when you began dealing in drugs way back in 2012.”
“It is plain you did make and intended to make considerable amounts of money. The fact that you chose to spend that money playing the markets in very little mitigation.”
Finally, Richens was caught when the suspicious customs officials had intercepted Lavazza coffee containers numbering to four that has been addressed to him at the Coventry Airport back in 2018. The seized hidden packages contained 280 grams of cocaine and 6944 MDMA tablets of very high purity that together amounted to a total of approximately £100,000.
The enquiries have revealed that four similar deliveries have taken place back in November and December last year and another one in January the same year.
Martin Lidiard, prosecuting, said: “He was the principal player at the top of an organisation in which he has acted as an importer of controlled drugs and has then proceeded to distribute those drugs. His methods were designed to keep the involvement of others to a minimum, using crypto-currency, the use of the dark web and encrypted devices. He has been involved in sourcing and supplying significant quantities of class A drugs, principally cocaine and MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, for some six years.”
The accused Richens, the dark web drug dealer was also linked to three of the other mail companies, of which one had become suspicious and had contacted the UK Border Force. The investigators have discovered that a seal had been broken on one of the children’s game while the screws that it had tampered. On opening the packages, they found it contained 121 grams of cocaine and 263 grams of MDMA drugs.
Mr Lidiard said: “We can’t say how many other deliveries there may have been, but on just the 13 we know about it is reasonable to infer quantities of at least half a kilo up to three-and-a-half kilos per delivery, imported and distributed. So that is six-and-a-half up to 40 kilos in total.”
Richens was an employee of Infotech Solutions from where he has been arrested. The police had seized three phones from him along with the key to a room at the Travelodge in Alcester, Warwickshire and a USB stick. In the same place of Travelodge, he had booked for two weeks, the officers have recovered 576 MDMA tablets along with bags, scales and a vacuum sealing machine. The USB and the phone were encrypted and protected with passwords while Richens denied revealing the passcodes. During this, a conversation was found on one of the phones that connected him to paying the £63,245 in return for bitcoins. Mr Lidiard had said that Lichen’s finances have shown between 2012 and 2018 and he had earned £130,000 from his job, but he had spent over £716,000.
Alexander Leach, defending, said: “There was a substantial financial gain, but that was lost because of his addiction to gambling. This is an intelligent defendant experienced in information technology who was involved in a sophisticated form of gambling in stocks and shares, just as liable to result in addiction and loss and other forms of gambling. He became immersed in it, and to support it he became involved in importing class A drugs. Although he was able to cover his tracks in this case, there is no suggestion that he controlled or recruited or exercised authority over others.”
Source: Daily Record
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