Manchester University students sold drugs on the dark web and earned £800,000 in Bitcoin
March 21, 2018 1:22 pm
Manchester University students earned £800,000 in Bitcoin by selling drugs on the dark web
A team of Manchester University students capitalized a luxury lifestyle by selling drugs worth more than £800,000 on the dark web.
They were paid in Bitcoin and began to party in Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Amsterdam. They were photographed in hats emblazoned with “Billionaire Boys Club” before the FBI caught them.
They constituted their operation after beginning to take drugs at university, planning they’re dealing from a city center flat and sending drugs including Ecstasy, LSD, and ketamine through the post to Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand, as well as selling to other students in Manchester.
The leader of the team was Basil Assaf, now 26, a former grammar school student from Buckinghamshire. The petrochemical engineering student claimed that he was able to buy a flat and pay his university fees with the drug money.
The gang operated from May 2011 to October 2013. They were also caught in an FBI investigation that shut down the Silk Road, an underworld marketplace on the dark web.
Assaf set up the gang’s account on the Silk Road, and they sold drugs from Belgium, China, Germany, the Netherlands, and Pakistan, promoting their products with photographs and a description on the website. The value of their sales was at least £810,000, but their profits are likely to have grown expendable because they were paid in bitcoin, which has risen hugely in value and is free from government and central bank control.
During the investigation, Assaf said:
“I was more than happy to do time for all of this. If [bitcoin] continues going up while we’re inside there’s a chance we’ll come out with mills.”
But the Prosecutors couldn’t be able to track his bitcoin.
William Baker, for the prosecution, said:
“Their common interest in taking controlled drugs quickly grew into a business selling drugs to other students in Manchester.”
Among Assaf’s assistants were Elliot Hyams, 26, a geology student and former fellow student at Dr. Challoner’s Grammar in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, James Roden, 25, who read computer science, and Jaikishen Patel, 26, who studied pharmacology. Joshua Morgan, 28, a marketing student, sometimes helped by packaging drugs for export.
While FBI shut down the Silk Road, in October 2013, Assaf and Roden were caught in a raid at their flat by the National Crime Agency. Officers found laptops, thousands of pounds in cash, a baseball bat next to the front door and drugs including LSD, Ecstasy, ketamine, and diazepam.