charlie-spargo
24th August 2015

Student drug kingpin jailed

Liam Reynolds and a gang of Leeds students ordered drugs from abroad using the Silk Road marketplace and sold them on to students
Student drug kingpin jailed
Using the Dark Web and untraceable bitcoin, the gang were able to order illicit substances by post. Photo: mattza @Flickr

A Leeds student has been jailed for four years after running a lucrative drug ring using the Dark Web.

Liam Reynolds and a group of friends, who studied International Business at what was then Leeds Metropolitan University (now Beckett), used the now-disabled Silk Road website to buy and import drugs using the bitcoin cryptocurrency.

The operation was run out of a student house in Headingley Mount, a suburb of Leeds, where members of the group lived.

Using the Dark Web—a part of the internet not indexed by search engines, which needs specific software to be accessed—the gang ordered shipments of illegal drugs including LSD, MDMA and cannabis from abroad.

Once the deliveries had been received, they profited by selling it on to fellow students. They were able to get away with this by using the untraceable bitcoin.

After police received a tip-off that the gang had involvement in the trade of illegal drugs, they uncovered the operation and seized, amongst other things, a large shipment of cannabis and the men’s phones and laptops.

They found text messages making overt references to drugs and photos of the friends with drugs and money. The gang was charged in May last year.

Liam Reynolds.

Reynolds had apparently modelled himself on Breaking Bad character Walter White, a man who leaves his job as a teacher and builds a drug empire. Text messages and a T-shirt referring to the American TV show were found by police.

Liam Reynolds was sentenced to four years in prison at Leeds Crown Court last week for conspiracy to import and supply ecstasy, conspiracy to import and supply LSD, conspiracy to import and supply cannabis, and money laundering.

The other nine received two-year suspended sentences of between eight and 24 months and 200 hours of unpaid work.

Detective Inspector Jaz Khan, head of the district’s specialist drugs team, said: “This was a very sophisticated and highly organised criminal enterprise that for a sustained period of time imported substantial quantities of controlled drugs into the UK and supplied them in the city’s student community.

““They thought that they could frustrate law enforcement by using the internet’s Dark Web to avoid detection but that proved not to be the case.

“These men were studying at university and had opportunities open to them that many others don’t but instead of putting their efforts into their legitimate academic endeavours they chose to operate a criminal trade in drugs.

“We hope the sentences they have received will serve as a stark reminder to others of the penalties they will face if they choose to involve themselves in the supply of controlled drugs.”

The Silk Road was a market hosted on the Dark Web where international purchases of illegal products, including drugs, weapons, and stolen credit cards, were made. In May 2015, Ross Ulbricht—understood to be the Dread Pirate Roberts, the pseudonym under which the Silk Road was run—was sentenced to life imprisonment for his crimes.


More Coverage

UoM PHD student faces backlash over research paper on masturbating to comics of young boys

UoM PHD student faces backlash over research paper on masturbating to comics of young boys

A PHD student at the University of Manchester has recently come under fire and faced a severe online backlash after a research paper he wrote about masturbating to erotic comics of young boys went viral.
Andy Burnham announces new bus fares to combat cost of living crisis

Andy Burnham announces new bus fares to combat cost of living crisis

Bunrham announces that from September 2022 the bus fares will be capped at £2 for adults and £5 for day passes across all operators in Greater Manchester.
Manchester set for travel nightmare this weekend due to busy music weekend

Manchester set for travel nightmare this weekend due to busy music weekend

‘Plan ahead now’ is the warning from Manchester Council for those going
UoM to give students more choice over remote study in provisional flexible learning plan

UoM to give students more choice over remote study in provisional flexible learning plan

UoM has proposed a new flexible learning plan which includes part-time and digital study

Popular Articles

Copyright © The Mancunion
Powered By Spotlight Studios

0161 275 2930  University of Manchester’s Students’ Union, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PR

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap