Indian-Origin Man Jailed in UK for Being Part of ‘Prolific’ Dark Web Drug Gang
Jaikishen Patel, 26, from Manchester University received 11 years and two months for the crime.
An Indian-origin man was sentenced to 11 years and two months in jail for being part of a “prolific” dark web drug dealing group, according to the UK National Crime Agency (NCA). In total, five members of the group have been sentenced to a total of 56 years.
London residents Basil Assaf, Elliot Hyams, Jaikishen Patel, all 26, and James Roden, 25 were students at the Manchester University when they began selling drugs on the notorious Silk Road website. Junior member Joshua Morgan, 28, of Manchester, was paid to package drugs for the group.
The group was led by Assaf, who received 15 years and three months sentence. They moved the drug dealing operation on to Silk Road, a website modeled on sites such as eBay and Amazon, to sell a variety of illicit goods, in May 2011. Soon, they became one of the most successful businesses on Silk Road, which is part of the dark web.
Under the brand name Ivory, they sent drugs, including LSD, ecstasy, 2CB, ketamine, and valium, to buyers around the world. The five people sent almost 17 kg of liquid ecstasy, equivalent to 240,000 tablets, through the post to buyers, in 6,305 sales.
They also sent more than 1.2 kg of 2CB and more than 1.4 kg of ketamine.
According to the NCA’s investigation, the group made at least $1.14 million (about £812,000), but the actual amount is unknown since they took cash or cryptocurrencies whenever possible.
With their drug sales, the group funded a luxurious lifestyle for themselves, including holidays in the Bahamas and Jamaica, and weekends partying with suppliers in Amsterdam. Meanwhile, they also had instances of infighting when Hyams was sacked over his unreliability so he made off with a large quantity of drugs as compensation.
Assaf then threatened Hyams, saying, “I won’t hesitate to ruin your life. Your mother will find out the truth.” He also followed through with the threat.
The group came under the radar when the FBI shut down the Silk Road and seized its servers in October 2013. They shared the information with the NCA, which shortly arrested Assaf and Roden.
The officers found four sets of scales, heat sealing devices, envelopes and jiffy bags, label printers, £4,500 in cash and more than 11,000 individual doses of LSD. Hyams was arrested the same day while officers arrested Patel, who worked with Assaf and Roden throughout, a year later.
“These five men were interested only in making money,” Ian Glover, senior operations manager at the NCA, said. “They had no regard whatsoever for the harm these drugs could do to their users. The FBI’s excellent work shut the site down in 2013 in a globally significant operation and information they shared with us enabled us to identify, arrest and successfully build this case.”