A 46-year-old, Steven Hancock used bitcoin to purchase Ecstasy from the dark web, but will not spend a day behind bars for his offenses. Steven pleaded guilty to all the charges against him but the judged viewed him as a low-risk offender after all the evidence against him was presented. According to the presiding judge at Swindon Crown Court, Steven would have been sentenced to two years and three months behind bars if he had denied the charges at trial.
According to the prosecuting officer, Alistair Hegarty, Steven’s first Ecstasy package was intercepted by a courier in March last year. The delivery had 52 ecstasy pills. Law enforcement then intercepted a second package that contained 54 Ecstasy tabs a month later. He ordered the drugs online from a vendor based in Amsterdam.
Steven gave his home address as the shipping address for his drugs; this made it easy for the police to locate and raid his home. The raid resulted in the seizure of a small quantity of cannabis additionally to all the ecstacy. After being questioned by police, Steven admitted using bitcoin to purchase over 50 tablets of Ecstasy from a dark web vendor on a monthly basis. He admitted to sharing the tablets with his friends. He gave the police full access to his phone which revealed that he acquired the drugs for personal use and not for dealing.
In Steven’s defense, Attorney Richard Williams told the court that his client had suffered a heart attack in December which served as an eye-opener and drove him to changing his ways. The attorney disclosed how Steven stopped using ecstasy and smoking after he was discharged from the hospital. He had been admitted after a pneumonia ailment. To add to Steven’s positive image was a reference from his employer who said Steven was a hardworking man and landlord.
Steven pleaded guilty to the possession of cannabis and ecstasy and fraudulent evasion of a criminal act.
Having heard all the arguments placed before him, Judge Robert Pawson, concluded that Steven was low risk to the public with a very low probability of offending again. Considering Steven’s cooperation with the authorities since his arrest, Judge Pawson sentenced him to 18 months of a suspended sentence with 200 hours of community service and a four-month curfew from 7 pm to 5 am.
Steven’s case was just one of many in which citizens of the United Kingdom were involved in dark web drugs purchase. A report by the Global Drug Survey 2018 ranked the UK as one of the leading buyers of drugs from the dark web. According to the survey, only Finland and Norway have more dark web drug purchases than the UK. The report ranked Ecstasy as one of the most traded drugs in the dark web. After purchase, the vendors of these drugs use the postal system to deliver packages as opposed to using ports that are stricter when it gets to the inspection of packages.
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