The self-described “serial entrepreneur” Shaun Collopy and his partner in crime Gary Cooley are awaiting to be sentenced in June by the District Court of Australia on drug-trafficking charges.
Collopy was a computer science student in the 2000s when he ran into success with a series of start-up companies that handle SMS services. One would say that his successfulness peaked in 2007 when he sold his piece of Mobile Messenger for more than $200 million.
Sometime around 2009, he began delving into the world of drugs using his new-found fortune. He developed a love for cocaine and opiate painkillers. At one point, he overdosed on cocaine which lead him to being in rehab for nine months.
In 2010, Collopy hoped to get a fresh start and used some of fortune to start MGM Wireless. It didn’t take long for his love of drugs to overcome him once again. He got in touch with his friend Cooley and enjoyed each other’s company under the influence of “ice” – which was purchased off of the Silk Road.
Collopy operated under the name “The Big Wolf” inspired by his admiration for Jordan Belfort.
His wife left him in 2012 which only caused him to remain addicted to ice and pushed him deeper into the world of drugs. Come 2013, Collopy would be buying $6000 worth of drugs every week for his and Cooley’s personal use. Sometimes he shared with his other friends.
It’s estimated that between April 2013 and October 2013, he spent nearly $57,000 on drugs.
Collopy setup his own drug website, “AUVIP”, for himself and Cooley a few weeks after he overdosed severely in September 2013 which apparently didn’t phase him one bit. The pair communicated with each other using Facebook under fake names and eagerly told each other about how well their operations were doing. They obtained product from The Netherlands, India, and Belgium. At one point, they mentioned over Facebook about a $108,000 transaction.
Their entire operation came crashing down when a sniffer dog picked up on a package that soon after was linked to Cooley. This led to raid being conducted on his home during a children’s birthday party. So far, Collopy was fine until Cooley’s wife mentioned that Collopy was probably involved in this.
After four long months, Collopy’s password for his encrypted computers was cracked by a forensics expert, which gave law enforcement the truth about what was really going on.
The prosecutor, Peter Longson, urged Chief Judge Muecke to sentence Collopy and Cooley to a lengthy prison term to in hopes that it will keep others from using the darknet for criminal gain.
Longson said, “This is, in many respects, new-age drug-dealing … these two men are at the top of this tree, this is not the normal drug-dealing where you have got people standing on the street corner or you have got people meeting in car washes. This is sophisticated because of its undetectability, by being transacted on the darknet and transacted in bitcoins.”
On the other hand, Lindy Powell, Collopy’s lawyer, asks the Judge for mercy saying, “These are crimes which Your Honour [can be treated] as fuelled not by greed, but were fuelled by addiction, He’s lost his career, he’s lost his family, he’s lost his pride, he’s lost his money and he’s lost the respect of his loved ones and of course, most of all, he’s lost his freedom.”