US law enforcement is claiming a victory in its 43-year War on Drugs™ after a Dutch man accused of being one of the largest drug dealers on the now-defunct Silk Road online bazaar agreed to plead guilty to a single drug conspiracy charge.
Over an 18-month period, the Feds allege, Cornelis Jan Slomp sent 104 kilograms of MDMA, 566,000 ecstasy tablets, four kilos of cocaine, three of benzodiazepine, and "substantial quantities" of amphetamines, LSD, and marijuana into the US disguised in empty DVD boxes.
"In the global black market for all things illegal, Slomp allegedly was a prolific vendor on Silk Road," said Gary Hartwig, special agent-in-charge at Chicago's branch of the Department of Homeland Security Investigations team.
"HSI will remain vigilant against criminals who traffic contraband and illicit goods across our nation's borders. Those who mistakenly believe the anonymity of the Internet ― even on the Deep Web ― shields them from scrutiny are finding out they can't evade detection in cyberspace."
Court documents claim that Slomp, 22, who hails from the sleepy suburban Dutch city of Woerden, started selling drugs on Silk Road under the alias "SuperTrips" in March 2012, and accepted payment in Bitcoins.
The charges state that Slomp found wholesale suppliers willing to meet his customers' requirements for a wide variety of narcotics, and that he hired two people to manufacture own-brand ecstasy tablets in red, white, green, and pink, each imprinted with a question mark.
A month after he started selling on the Silk Road, Slomp began getting the attention of US Customs after they found a DVD case with MDMA stuffed inside, one of over 100 they eventually recovered. The packaged drugs were mailed from the Netherlands or Germany, and investigators claim they were used to identify Slomp as the sender.
The DoJ charges that in August 2012 Slomp made a pact with a Floridian known as Individual J who operated on Silk Road under the names "UnderGroundSyndicate" and "BTCMaster", in which the Dutch man agreed to send over half a kilo of MDMA a week and a total of two additional kilos of cocaine and one of Benzodiazepine, for resale in local US markets.
Slomp also arranged for the contact and an associate to have full access to his SuperTrips account so that they could deal with customers directly. Prosecutors claim Slomp wanted them to handle customer support because they had better English language skills that he.
It is alleged Slomp also sent Bitcoins to Individual J so that they could be converted into cash. The indictment states that he agreed for Individual J to hang on to his share of the cash, and after a year the Dutch man sold his business entirely to his Florida contacts and flew into Miami to pick up his share of the loot.
Slomp arrived from the Netherlands last August 27, was arrested on arrival in Miami, and has been in federal custody ever since. Pleading guilty to the single charge of conspiracy to import narcotics into the US makes Slomp liable for between five and 40 years in prison and a $5m fine.
In addition to that, federal agents are asking to keep the $3,030,000-worth of Bitcoins that the government collected from Slomp, and which have already been converted into cash.
"Illegal drug-trafficking is not new but drug-trafficking using a sophisticated underground computer network designed to protect anonymity of buyers and sellers presents new challenges to law enforcement that we are prepared to meet," said Zachary Fardon, US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois in a statement. ®