Dark Web

McBeth and Li were sentenced to seven and six years in prison respectively for their conspiring role in the smuggling, distribution and sale of drugs over the dark web

Steen McBeth, a New Zealand citizen and dark web drug dealer has been arrested and sentenced to seven-years imprisonment for the crime of trafficking drugs over the dark web, eligible for parole after four years served in a County Court in Australia.

A member of a successful drug enterprise, McBeth and a known accomplice identified as Jackson Li also a native of New Zealand, were in cohorts with other criminals and used Bitcoin to order and import illicit drugs using the dark web and received Bitcoin also as payment for the sale of said drugs.

One for the flashy lifestyle, McBeth and friends purchased several houses, expensive cars, in different places, including safe houses where they stashed their goods and huge amounts of cash.

Pictured is McBeth (far left) and Li, (far right)

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The sentencing, which was handed down by Judge Michael Cahill prefixed that this was a successful ring responsible for not the only the importation and distribution and sale of illicit drugs but also laundered money and disguised drugs in everyday goods like children’s toys and the like to facilitate their illegal trading activities.

Prior to the arrests of the two, law enforcement claims they carried out multiple surveillance activities and monitored the two to gather enough evidence for a search warrant, which when executed at their residences, “safe houses” and cars, yielded more than $163,000 in actual cash and close to the 31 kilograms of drugs seized during this sting.

They also shared that they were successful in intercepting over 120 international packages mailed from the group to customers worldwide containing a wide array of drugs including several kilograms of ketamine, MDA and cocaine.

Judge Cahill shared,

Between February 6, 2017, and October 9, 2017, the two of you [McBeth and Jackson Li] were members of a criminal syndicate which imported and trafficked border-controlled drugs over the dark web. By the sentence I impose I must denounce your conduct, punish you and deter others.

Li, (28) by association was found to be hiding over $113,000 dollars in his residence in Kew and was also handed down a 6-year sentence for his participation in the scheme.

Acknowledging that the duo appeared to be remorseful following the admittance of guilt to the charges of Trafficking a Commercial Quantity of a Drug of Dependence as well as Trafficking a Commercial Quantity of a Border-Controlled Drug, the judge maintained that the sentence was just; enough to deter future criminals and serve the purpose of penalising and rehabilitating the two.

Both men face deportation after serving their full sentences and have jointly served more than 2 years in prison.

The leader of this drug syndicate the two were members of, has only been identified as a Bitcoin trader who manned the operation and handled the importation as well as 60% of the proceeds made from the trade.

Judge Cahill stated,

The ringleader directed the importation and owned a controlling share of 60 percent. He used bitcoin to purchase a substantial amount of drugs… with cryptocurrency… which was then converted into Australian bank accounts.

The group appeared to be running an operation inspired by the successful Colombian drug cartel headed by Pablo Escobar.


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