Ireland Men Busted For Selling Drugs On The Silk Road Site

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McManus and MilliganOn April 2015, two Northern Ireland men who ran a drugs “party pack” international business with the use of an online underground marketplace called the Silk Road were jailed. Ryan Thomas McManus, 31, and Ryan Michael Milligan, 29, who had been arrested in August 2013, were given seven year sentences – half of it to be served in prison and the other half on license upon release. The sentences were passed by Judge McFarland after the two pleaded guilty of all the charges against them.


During the court’s hearing of the case a week earlier, the Crown Prosecutor’s report explained that McManus and Milligan were arrested and a search was conducted on properties linked to them and drugs were seized. The report further explained that du ring the 18-month period of offending, the two received packages of drugs brought to addresses that were affiliated to them. They also transacted using a virtual mailbox facility in Belfast. An account with the company was opened by McManus using fake credentials and parcels were subsequently sent to the account. An investigation was later launched and McManus was caught leaving the company with a white package via surveillance.

On 5th August 2013, a courier’s attempt to deliver a parcel at an address in Dunwellan Park in Newcastle but nobody answered his call. The package was sent back to the depot and was opened and a large number of tablets were found in it. A search was conducted at the Dunwellan Park address and Connor Devenney, the occupant, was arrested. Later that day, McManus was arrested after police connected with the search spotted a vehicle registered under his name parked near an alley in the area. The officers approached him when they saw him walk out of the alleyway. In the vehicle, they found the key to a garage which they searched and found ’42 exhibits’. Also searched that day was Milligan’s Dundrum home where he was arrested for suspicion of drug offences. The three were taken to police custody for further interrogations.

When the men were arrested and the unraveling of the Silk Road happened in 2013, the FBI seized little under 40 orders of class A and B controlled drugs awaiting dispatch to recipients in Israel, Ireland, Greece, Sweden, Russia, USA, and within the UK. Mr. Conor Devenney, who died on the eve of the day the case was set out, was employed as the courier. He was responsible for the movement of the drugs out of and into the UK.

McManus and Milligan used aliases Blackwater86 and Sonicdrone and would order drugs through instant messaging services, website forums and emails, using North America, Netherlands and China-based suppliers. They paid for drugs and accepted payments from customers using virtual currencies such as bitcoin.


When officers searched their properties, they seized computers, phones, printers, iPads, banking details and passports, packaging and large amounts of controlled drugs such as amphetamine, 4-MEC, ecstasy, cannabis and LSD substitute tablets with “Sponge Bob Square Pants” face printed on them. Computers seized were analyzed and the result showed that they use the Silk Road site to advertise their business to the worldwide market. The approach really worked as they facilitated around 300 bespoke orders between May 2012 and July 2013. The transaction list revealed that they were mostly dealing with clients from Sweden, India, Italy and Russia.