Silk Road Market Dealer Pleads Guilty to Murder of Customer

Another darknet arrest
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Kevin C. Campbell, a 47-year old man from Chicago, pleaded guilty on February 3rd, 2017 in U.S. District Court in Seattle after he sold heroin and prescription drugs to a 27-year-old Bellevue man, which led to his death. In August 2013, Kevin C. Campbell sold Xanax and valium through the darknet to a man from Washington which led to his death as announced by the U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.

This is not the first time such a case was reported. Steven Sadler and his co-defendant, Jenna White, both pleaded guilty in May 2014 to an illegal distribution of drugs with similarities. According to the then acting U.S Attorney Annette L. Hayes, nearly $1,000,000 worth of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine was supplied to people who placed an order over the internet, through the Silk Road Market. This led to the closure of the Silk Road Market in 2013.

Guns, drugs and a sum of money were retrieved by the Federal authorities from their condominium, and this was enough evidence that led to their sentence for five-years in jail. The darknet has for the past years brought a headache to law enforcers, as it deals in the purchasing of old and new drugs through underground communication, as paraphrased from the statement made by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in 2014. Not all markets have such great reputations like Acropolis.

Darknet Drugs on the Rise Even After Silk Road’s Closure

Following its closure in 2013, more than 13,348 drugs were discovered from the Silk Road Website. According to a research conducted by the US online safety group, the darknet witnessed various websites selling thousands of different drugs, with several dealers. Darknet market platforms are many today, as several of them such as WayAway market and French Deep Web Market have come to the level of accepting bitcoin as a proper form of payment.

Bitcoin has become the darknet payment of choice because it cannot be traced easily. Moreover, it is an undeniable fact that Bitcoin usage is universal and easy to use, henceforth, more dealers whose location are blacklisted from PayPal usage are introduced into the market through bitcoin usage. Out of the 80,000 people surveyed by Dr. Adam Winstock, of King’s College London, 22% of the drugs they use originated online and 44% of those had done so for the first time. Items that are sold on darknet markets range from weapons, drugs, credit cards, and others which are, mostly considered illegal, or difficult to come by in the real market.

As technological advancement is seen as a weapon to modify the resistances imposed by nature, there is a dark side to it too. It does not only flout the constitutional laws but also, the moral law. As people speak against the other side of technology, there are others who accept all sides of it. The inventors of the new bitcoin software Dark Wallet admitted he believe in the freedom to purchase illegal drugs as positive results of encryption, bitcoin, and Tor.

“I want a private means for black market transaction”, said Cody Wilson in an interview with Wired magazine in 2014. “The more technology there is, the more knowledge about inventions, such as digital currencies exist. Furthermore, the more law enforcers too,” he added.


The Arrest Itself

The record file of the case narrates that emergency crew received a call to a home in Bellevue, where the 27-year-old Jordan Mettee was found unconscious. According to the report, the Silk Road website was found open on his computer screen. Messages from Kevin Campbell could be read clearly, as he was the vendor discussing the drugs.

Further investigation revealed that Campbell is a drug dealer who supplies prescription drugs, heroin, and other illegal substances to customers who places an order online. An altered DVD case was found near Mettee’s body too. Inside was drug residue, so it is believed that his deliveries were packaged in the DVD case. Further record in the file states that Campbell’s fingerprint was found on the outside of the DVD case.

A search warrant was obtained to search Campbell’s residence in Colorado in May 2014. The results were positive, as sufficient evidence of his drug trafficking were obtained. Not only were drugs discovered, but measuring devices and scales, shipping equipment and packaging, as well as, empty DVD cases were discovered throughout the home.

U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes stated, “This case is an outrage and a tragedy at the same time.”

Attorney Hayes presided over a similar case in 2014 further said “What allowed this defendant to work at a drug treatment center with people in the grips of addiction, and at the same time peddle dangerous drugs across the country via the dark web? The heroin this defendant sold killed one of his customers. At sentencing, we will ask the Court for a sentence that reflects that fact.”

Campbell will be sentenced on May 9, 2017, and he can be imprisoned for life. However, since he is pleading guilty such a deal may lead to a minimum sentence of likely 10 years according to notes from U.S. District Judge John Coughenour.

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