Former Rugby Player Used Bitcoin to Purchase MDMA Over the Dark Web
A former rugby player in the A-grade Darwin Rugby League in Australia was given an 18 month prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to possession of MDMA pills with the intent to supply. The rugby player allegedly acquired hundreds of MDMA pills from a dark web marketplace; prosecution failed to disclose the name of the marketplace. According to court documents, the player obtained the pills for his personal use and to resell to fund his own drug habit.
Twenty-seven year old Gavin Brown pleaded guilty to supplying MDMA in commercial quantities. According to the evidence presented against Brown in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, Brown made the MDMA purchase on an unspecified date in April 2018. Brown allegedly purchased 500 MDMA pills from a dark web marketplace and paid for them with bitcoin. The total cost of the drugs was reportedly 6,000 Australian dollars. After making the purchase, Brown allegedly waited 24 days before the MDMA pills were delivered.
Not long after the drugs were delivered, police received a tip on Brown’s drug use and raided his residence after acquiring a search. The search led to the discovery of 400 MDMA pills, packaging plastic, paper bags, and $900, which were all seized and placed in police custody. Since Brown was not at home when the raid took place, the police contacted him by phone and arrested him on the 5th of June, 2018, at a plumbing company where he worked as a Trades Assistant.
After the arrest, the police interrogated Brown, who allegedly told them that he had bought 500 MDMA pills through the dark web, paid for the pills with bitcoin, and that he had consumed 80 of the tablets. Brown then disclosed that he intended to sell the seized MDMA pills in nightclubs and pubs. The sentencing judge approximated that Brown would have made profits in the range of $14,000 and $16,000 if he had managed to sell all the pills found in his possession by the police. The pills the police seized from Brown’s home weighed 100 grams, which, according to the sentencing judge, is four times the commercial quantity of MDMA.
According to court records, Brown began using MDMA a year before his arrest, and he consumed small quantities of the drug at first. His use of MDMA continued to increase, and it became expensive to fund. Brown was buying the MDMA pills from local dealers as he had never accessed the dark web. As his drug habit continued to grow and became more expensive, Brown decided to make purchases over the dark web as it was cheaper than purchasing from his local dealers. The prosecution did not tell the court if Brown had ever obtained other MDMA pills through the dark web apart from those that the police seized on raiding his home.
While issuing the sentence, Justice Barr described Brown’s intentions as very selfish as he only intended to benefit himself and did not put the interests of the community before his. Justice Barr said that he saw no difference between a drug dealer who sells but does not do drugs and Brown as they both cause harm to the community.
Before issuing the sentence, Justice Barr disclosed that Brown’s good employment record, the fact that he has a pregnant girlfriend, Brown’s contribution to society as a rugby coach, and his clean criminal history, had convinced him to impose a lighter sentence on Brown.
While issuing the sentence, Barr said that he had intended to give a two year imprisonment sentence but reduced it to 18 months, since Brown had pleaded guilty early and had accepted responsibility for his wrongdoing. The judge partially suspended the sentence and indicated that Brown would serve only three months in prison after which he will be released and the other 15 months suspended for two years. Justice Barr then advised Brown to stay out of trouble for the two years after he is released as reoffending within that period would result in him spending the suspended 15 months behind bars.