A 26-year-old dark web drug dealer has been handed a 16-year prison sentence for selling drugs he imported from the dark web. Kurt Lai Lan, the culprit, imported over thousands of MDMA tablets from the dark web which unfortunately for him was intercepted by officers. According to the officers, the package had more than 11,000 MDMA tablets which were worth £80,000.
The packages were in the form of jigsaw puzzle boxes when they were intercepted by the South East Regional Organized Crime Unit, which was sent from the Netherlands to Kurt’s residence in Fratton.
He was found guilty of one count each for both importing and supplying class A drugs.
A recent research placed Britain at number three of the biggest worldwide users of the dark web with its number of online drug dealers tripling in a period of three years. Numerous cases have since been recorded and this latest one is no surprise.
Kurt’s drug business also led to the death of two island brothers from Port St Mary, after selling them ecstasy from his dark web vendor page, of which they overdosed on it. Jacques and Torin Lakeman were later found dead in a room right on top of a Bolton pub in December 2014.
Kurt’s lawyer, however, denied the allegations against his client, stating that, there was no causal link between the drugs his client sold and that on the one which killed the brothers.
The amount of ecstasy ingested by the brothers indeed exceeded the amount bought online allegedly from Kurt, after an autopsy was performed.
He was handed the sentence after an 11-day trial at the Portsmouth Crown Court. A warrant was granted for a search to be conducted at Kurt’s address after the seizure. Officers upon reaching there saw Kurt throwing a USB stick into a nearby garden, which was recovered after he was apprehended.
Additional investigation revealed that Kurt had made many transactions with the post office which involved huge shipments of MDMA tablets. He sold the drugs via many dark web marketplaces of which he controlled personally and used Bitcoin for all payments.
According to the police, Kurt had amassed large sums of money. He was living in the penthouse apartments in London, had very expensive clothes, Rolex watches, over 30 pairs of designer shoes, and was very much living a luxurious life, a life which he couldn’t show was legitimate.
Kurt’s arrest came in June 2017, at London Gatwick Airport when attempting to take a flight, which was a business class to Johannesburg, South Africa on a one-way ticket.
He was in possession of more than £7,000 in cash, and six suitcases. Police then arrested him and subsequently charged and remanded him into custody until his trial.
Ray Lakeman, the father of the deceased brothers after the case, spoke to the Courier and said that he believes the police are trying their very best but there is no way to stop it. He stated that, if his children were able to log onto the dark web, anybody else can also do it.
Neil Cripps, a Detective Inspector from SEROCU’s Investigations team also spoke after the hearing. According to him, the case and the sentence which followed sends out a clear message to people who are engaged in this kind of illicit acts looking to make quick and easy money.
He noted that, it is widely believed that anonymity is afforded by the use of the dark web and unregulated cryptocurrency but no matter the level of encryption you have or how secured you think you are when browsing the dark web, the South East Organized Crime Unit’s expertise on Dark web marketplaces and cryptocurrency will make it possible for them to locate and bring you before the law.
Detective Cripps added that SEROCU works throughout the region to make sure that their capabilities are being utilized to the maximum best. He pointed out this case to be a clear instance where their specialist capabilities come to play which helps in identifying and breaking down organized crime groups.
“The investigation shows that even the most technical method of drug dealing and payment transfers, using the dark web, will be pursued,” he added.
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Author: Kofi Anash