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British Man Jailed For More Than 11 Years For Importing £100k Worth of Drugs From Netherlands Using the Darknet

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A drug dealer who imported £100,000 worth of cocaine and MDMA into the country via Coventry airport has been jailed for more than 11 years.

Joe Richens, 31 and from Leamington, used the dark web to purchase drugs from Holland, which he then imported and distributed throughout the UK.

After a two year investigation by Warwickshire Police, he has admitted a catalogue of seven drug-related charges.

Warwick Crown Court, sitting at the Warwickshire Justice Centre in Leamington Spa, heard that the investigation, codenamed Operation Celsius, began in February 2018 when officers seized cocaine and MDMA worth £100,000 at Coventry airport. The drugs were destined for Richens at his work address via a mailbox company, police said.

A Warwickshire Police spokesman added: “Officers subsequently discovered that Richens had set up a complex drug supply network and responsible for a further 13 importations into the country.”

The court was told that Richens operated using the dark web, and sent large amounts of cash to crypto currency brokers who would provide him with bitcoins. He then used the bitcoins to purchase large quantities of Class A drugs from Holland.

The investigation revealed that he had received hundreds of thousands of pounds into his bank account from the sale of the drugs, and that he has been actively involved in serious criminal activity since 2012.

What was the sentence?

Richens was sentenced to two 11.5 year terms for two counts of conspiring to fraudulently evade a prohibition on the importation of a Class A drug (MDMA and cocaine), an eight year sentence for offering to supply MDMA, an eight year sentence for offering to supply cocaine and a six year sentence for possession with intent to supply MDMA.

There was also a further two year sentence for one charge of conceal/disguise/convert/transfer/remove criminal property.

The sentences are to run concurrently.

Sentence sends “clear message”

Detective Inspector Richard Brown said: “This result should send a clear message to those who believe they can hide behind the shadow of the dark web.

“We will use all of the tools available to us to investigate such crime and prevent technology being used to commit serious and organised crime.

“We will continue working to disrupt the distribution of drugs in Warwickshire, ensuring those involved are brought to justice.”

Officers will now seek to ensure Richens cannot benefit from the proceeds of his crime through the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA). A hearing has been set for September.

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Written by Kofi Anash

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