Two 23-year-old men, according to the prosecution in a Netherlands court, sold “dozens of pounds” of MDMA on darknet markets in eight months alone. Despite their best claims to pretend they had distributed health supplements, both men left the courtroom with six year prison sentences.
The suspects, Thijs V. from Houten and Mike W. from Muiden, sold various (and numerous) types of drugs. Powder MDMA and ecstasy pills contributed to the majority of their sales, the public prosecutor said. Drug shipments found their way across the country with the drugs themselves hidden inside something inconspicuous and normal. And their drugs had reached across the majority of the globe.
In eight months, the pair of darknet vendors had sold $470,000 worth of drugs. Many of those drugs passed through mail inspection points while inside food containers and greeting cards. Neither tactic is brand new, but any means, but still notable enough to receive a mention in the courtroom.
Police arrested the men in February 2017. Inside the car, the officers found MDMA stashed inside food-related items. This triggered a house search where investigators uncovered more drugs, money, and evidence to prove the men had sold drugs in the darknet.
The food containers—peanut butter jars, for instance—may have contributed to the argument given by the defense: that they both believed they had been selling food and health supplements. They claimed they had sold $470,000 in health supplements in only eight months. In exchange for Bitcoin. And, furthermore, they sold the alleged supplements on the darknet.
Willem Jan Ausma, V’s lawyer told the press that his client “thought they were selling food supplements. He did not know anything about drugs.” W’s lawyer did not want to make a statement.
Telegram and WhatsApp chat logs gave away the men’s secret, though. They directly contradicted the argument that, instead of knowingly selling drugs in the darknet, they had been knowingly selling peanut butter. According to the prosecution, investigators discovered the men’s online activities after catching them with drugs in their vehicle. Neither defendant had a criminal history or background, and both attended the University of Amsterdam.
The lawyers asked the court to suspend the case itself, given their clients were young and in school. Their young ages worked to their advantage once the sentencing stage began. The prosecution pushed for a prison sentence that lasted longer than six years. He wanted seven years.
But because they were young and free of any criminal background, the judge sentenced them both to six years in prison. The court pushed for a forfeiture of the money earned online, but in August, the financial investigation had not completed. V. had also caught money laundering charges, but they were not mentioned during sentencing.