UK & World News

  • 25 April 2014, 12:39

Man Faces Jail After Trading Drugs For Bitcoins

A man faces 40 years behind bars for allegedly trading cocaine for Bitcoins on the illicit Silk Road website.

Federal prosecutors say Dutchman Cornelis Jan Slomp has agreed to plead guilty in Chicago to charges alleging he sold illegal drugs for millions of dollars.

Jan Slomp, of Worden, the Netherlands, was charged on Thursday with conspiracy to import and distribute controlled substances including ecstasy, amphetamine and cocaine.

The 22-year-old was arrested in August 2013 at Miami International Airport after travelling from Europe.

Prosecutors say he was planning to meet with co-conspirators about spinning off his Silk Road operations.

As well as up to four decades in prison, he also faces a $5m (£2.9m) fine and the forfeiture of his $3m (£1.8m) fortune.

A court date has not been set for him to enter his plea. Bloomberg said his attorney confirmed the intention to plead guilty in a phone interview.

The Silk Road - an online black market used to buy drugs and hitmen†- was shut down by the FBI in October last year.

The website, dubbed the eBay of the drug trade, used a privacy-protecting Tor network and Bitcoin digital currency to shield the identities of buyers and sellers around the world.

US Attorney Zachary Fardon said sites like Silk Road are the new frontier of drug distribution.

"Illegal drug-trafficking is not new, but drug-trafficking using a sophisticated underground computer network designed to protect anonymity of buyers and sellers presents new challenges to law enforcement that we are prepared to meet."

Court records show Silk Road had nearly a million registered users worldwide when it closed.

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