On February 3rd, 47-year old Kevin Campbell of Chicago pleaded guilty in a U.S. District Court in Seattle to charges for peddling illicit drugs on Silkroad, including heroin and prescription medications that led to the death of a 27-year old man living in Bellevue.
The Bellevue man died from an overdose after using heroin coupled with prescription drugs obtained from the Silkroad marketplace. Campbell is a drug treatment worker who decided to make some extra cash by selling heroin and prescription drugs on Silkroad, the infamous dark web marketplace. However, his get rich quick scheme turned into a tragedy following a customer’s overdose in August 2013.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.
According to case record, the emergency crew received a distress call from a Bellevue home, where they found Jordan Mettee lying unconscious in his bedroom.
He was rushed to the hospital and was later pronounced dead. In Mettee’s home, the authorities found the Silkroad website open on his computer screen, which provided substantial evidence of where he had sourced the drugs and who the provider was.
A detailed exchange on the website between the vendor and the deceased revealed that Campbell was the Silkroad vendor who had provided the drugs.
Further investigation revealed that Campbell was an active drug dealer who supplied illicit substances, such as prescription drugs and heroin, to clients across the country through Silkroad’s platform in exchange for bitcoin.
The drugs were delivered in altered DVD cases, thus avoiding easy detection. An altered DVD case was found near the deceased body, and Campbell’s fingerprints were found on the case.
A search warrant was issued to search the Campbell’s residence, where concrete evidence of his drug trafficking activities was obtained.
Aside from the drugs themselves, other incriminating evidence was discovered, such as shipping and packaging equipment, measuring scales and devices, and empty DVD cases.
In a press release, U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes mentioned that this case is both a tragedy and an outrage for allowing a drug trafficker to work at a drug treatment center, a place where drug addicts came to seek help.
Hayes further stressed that the heroin sold by the defendant through Silkroad killed a customer, and will request the court to give a sentence that reflects that fact.
Sale of Drugs on the Rise Even After Closure of SilkRoad
Launched in 2011, Silkroad was one of the first modern darknet marketplaces that allowed users to access illegal drugs securely and anonymously without detection.
The original Silkroad site was shut down in 2013 with the arrest of its founder. More than 13,000 drug listings had been discovered from Silkroad.
Since then, the number of websites similar to Silkroad that sell drugs and other illicit merchandise has exponentially grown, with their preferred currency being bitcoin.
Campbell’s case is not the first of its kind. In May 2014, Jenna White and her co-defendant Steven Sadler pleaded guilty to using the Silkroad marketplace to sell and distribute illegal substances.
Annette Hayes, the acting U.S Attorney, stated that Sadler had sold close to $1,000,000 USD worth of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine through the Silkroad prior to the marketplace being shut down in 2013.
Evidence retrieved by the authorities at his residence included drugs, a firearm, and several thousand dollars. Sadler was ultimately given a five-year prison sentence.
Over the past few years, darknet marketplaces such as Silkroad have become a headache of the police and the judicial system due to their employment of new forms of technology to communicate and transact, making it difficult for authorities to handle.
Even after the shutdown of Silkroad website, the investigators established that Campbell found other avenues to sell drugs to customers. With such concrete evidence against him, Campbell may be facing heavy charges. He will be sentenced on May 9th, 2017.