Travis Phillips, a 31-year-old man from the Seattle area, was sentenced on Jan. 15 to four years in prison and three years of supervised release for distributing MDMA and LSD via the dark web.
Phillips, who resided in Tacoma, a city just outside of Seattle, was caught with more than 155 hits of LSD, 8,600 tabs of ecstasy, psilocybin mushrooms, a fake ID, a semi-automatic handgun and a rifle.
In April 2017, U.S. authorities were notified by the Dutch National Police of a shipment containing 7,000 tablets of the drug MDMA.
The destination of the cargo, addressed to a fake name, was a private mail facility in Renton, Washington.
Police removed the drugs from the package and left the box for the recipient. When Phillips arrived to claim the package on May 2, 2017, a young child was present in the car with him.
The police then followed the suspect to his home in Tacoma, where they detained him. Phillips permitted the police to search his property, where they found a variety of drugs and firearms.
Phillips was identified in April 2017 as a vendor of illicit drugs on the dark web. A year earlier, Phillips was being investigated for online drug deals in California.
He then pleaded guilty to his charges in 2018.
Drug Dealing on the Dark Web Increasing
According to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes noted the increase of drug dealing on the dark web.
Hayes claimed that the impersonal nature of dark web drug purchases may encourage people who otherwise wouldn’t have entered the drug scene, making it easier for more people to access illicit substances.
She believes that this may result in more individuals succumbing to addiction.
Darknet markets sell products ranging from weapons, drugs, counterfeit items, illicit adult content and pirated intellectual property.
The 2018 Global Drug Survey showed that the percentage of people buying drugs from the dark web in the U.S. increased from 8 percent in 2014 to 18 percent in 2018.
With the dark web set to grow further in 2019, this is making the enforcement of drug laws more challenging for authorities.
However, Hayes warned that drug dealers on the dark web aren’t any safer than regular drug peddlers and asserts that they will be found and held accountable.
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