Beds, Herts & Bucks

Three men jailed over 'sophisticated' dark web drug dealing

Robert Price; Kevin McCabe in custody Image copyright serocu
Image caption Robert Price (left) and Colin McCabe were sentenced at Aylesbury Crown Court

Three men have been sentenced for their roles in a "sophisticated" global online drug-dealing business.

Colin McCabe, 39, Toby Woods and Robert Price, both 36, earned more than £1m selling Class A drugs on the dark web, Thames Valley Police said.

The network was discovered by the FBI, which then contacted UK police.

Aylesbury Crown Court heard the trio used the cryptocurrency Bitcoin to avoid detection and sold drugs as far afield as Australia.

Ringleader McCabe, of Carr Close, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, was jailed for 12 years after admitting conspiracy to supply drugs including cocaine, ketamine and cannabis.

Price, of Richmond Road, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, was jailed for nine years and nine months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs.

Woods, of Rowland Way, Aylesbury, was sentenced to 14 months after admitting entering into or being concerned in the acquisition or control of criminal property.

Image copyright serocu
Image caption A hard drive seized by police included images of bundles of £20 notes

The court heard the group sold drugs under the brand 'Project4', with their clients paying for them using Bitcoin.

What is Bitcoin?

However, they were caught when detectives matched the DNA of one of the men to packaging on envelopes containing drugs.

Upon the arrest of McCabe, detectives from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit found evidence of drug dealing, including packing materials and phones containing addresses of buyers.

A search of Price's address revealed 1.3kg of cannabis resin with a street value of £13,200 and 580g of MDMA with a value of over £10,000.

Sentencing, Judge Francis Sheridan said he had never come across a drug supply operation "as sophisticated or well organised as this one".

He said the fact payments were made in bitcoins was a further attempt to evade capture.

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