Mid Wales

Ceredigion man Cei Owens jailed for 'dark web' drugs offences

Cei William Owens Image copyright Athena pictures
Image caption Cei William Owens was one of six people arrested as part of a National Crime Agency operation

A Ceredigion man has been jailed for two years after he admitted five offences on the 'dark web'.

Cei William Owens, 29, of Llanbadarn Fawr, was one of five people arrested across the UK as part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) operation.

In June, he pleaded guilty to possession of Class A and B drugs and supplying or offering to supply Class A and B drugs.

He was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on Friday.

The so-called dark web is made up of sites which do not show up on regular internet searches and is an anonymous, virtually untraceable global network.

Owens was arrested alongside others, including two people from Gwynedd, after he committed offences on the Silk Road 2.0 illicit marketplace.

The platform, well-known for the trade in illegal drugs, has since been shut down.

'Organised crime network'

Judge Ian Murphy QC told him: "You are a talented young man who clearly has potential. Unfortunately, despite those qualities, you have chosen to embark on this sophisticated venture."

The NCA said Owens, operating under the pseudonym "JohnnyAlpha", had a presence on at least five illicit marketplaces.

Through these sites, officers were able to find evidence of at least 444 deals Owens had made since October 2013.

At the time of his arrest, cannabis resin, herbal cannabis, MDMA and psilocybin - also known as magic mushrooms - were recovered from his then-home in Aberdovey, Gwynedd.

Peter Smith of the NCA said: "The realisation that you can be tracked and identified on the dark web is beginning to sink in for online criminals.

"Selling drugs this way is just like any other organised crime network - it takes time and effort to investigate and build a criminal case, but we are determined and will continue to prosecute people who deal drugs and commit serious crime using the dark web."

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