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Leicestershire Man Sentenced for “Breaking Bad-style” Drug Operation

Paul Johnson, a former KFC employee, operated a multi-million dollar darkweb drug enterprise from the attic of his home in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. His so-called “Breaking Bad-style” operation resulted in an eight-year prison sentence.

A 32-year-old Leicestershire man was sentenced to eight years in prison for selling a variety of drugs on the darkweb and as well as for money laundering. The defendant was sentenced alongside his wife who authorities believe benefited from the drug trafficking operation that made more $2.4 million.

According to an announcement by the Leicestershire Police, Paul Johnson started selling on the darkweb in early 2015. He used the attic of his home in Northampton Road, Market Harborough, as his base of operations. To conceal the drug trafficking operation Johnson registered a delivery company and rented three homes where he had his drug supplies delivered. Johnson created the Labrador Tea Company to legitimize his source of income. According to the prosecution, he also traded Bitcoin to disguise the true source of his cryptocurrency earnings.

Johnson as pictured in his mugshot | Leicestershire Police

Johnson as pictured in his mugshot | Leicestershire Police

Johnson’s operation came to the attention of law enforcement agencies in August 2016 when the UK Border Control started intercepting and seizing drug packages addressed to the homes rented by Johnson’s company. By November 2017 the authorities had seized a total of 20.8 kilograms of a variety of drugs all addressed to Johnson. The seized drugs included 250 grams of cocaine, 8.1 kilograms of ecstasy, 3 kilograms of ketamine, and more than 9 kilograms of cannabis.

Johnson was arrested on December 13, 2017, when Leicestershire police officers executed a search warrant on his home and found him trading bitcoins on his laptop. The search resulted in the seizure of $9,000 worth of drugs. Police also seized Johnson’s laptop and recovered 22.7 Bitcoins from a number of wallets stored on the seized laptop.

Paul Wenlock of the Economic Crime Unit of the Leicestershire Police force:

Johnson used the internet to commit his crimes, he ran an organized business enterprise and traded in cryptocurrency in an attempt to hide his criminal activity from the authorities. He used his criminal gains to purchase property and cars.

This is one of a handful of cases nationally where cryptocurrency has been used in this way. This result is the testament to the knowledge and experience of the digital media investigators who quickly identified what Johnson was doing online and were able to secure the bitcoins.

On January 24, 2020, Johnson pleaded guilty to supplying class A and B drugs, possession with intent to supply class A drugs, improper importation of goods to the UK, and five counts of money laundering. Johnson’s wife⁠—28-year-old Lia Johnson—also pleaded guilty to four counts of money laundering.

The Johnsons entering court| Yahoo! Finance

The Johnsons entering court| Yahoo! Finance

On February 5, Johnson and his wife appeared at the Leicester Crown Court for their sentencing hearing. The court heard testimonies from the prosecution and the defendants’ attorneys.

Luke Blackburn, Prosecuting:

Paul Johnson did what he did whilst their child was in the house, albeit he worked from the attic. His wife knew what was going on, perhaps not all the details. He’s put her in a difficult position as none of her offending would have happened had it not been for him.

In her case, the money laundering doesn’t represent any drug importation. She says she believed most of his business was connected with computer parts, as he had once worked in that line of business and that’s accepted. She said she knew he was sending out cannabis to some people. She enjoyed the benefits, such as having the vehicles and the house.

The attorneys for the defendants told the court that Johnson started the drug trafficking operation to acquire money to take care of his family. They told the court that the defendants had a modest lifestyle. The court was also told that the couple had no prior convictions.

At the end of the trial, Judge Nicholas Dean sentenced Johnson to eight years in prison. Johnson’s wife was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years.

An asset forfeiture hearing is scheduled for May.

21 Comments
Me
22a47320 Tue, Feb 11, 2020

Anyone figure out who this vendor was yet then?

@me
24ca3c80 Tue, Feb 11, 2020

Not yet but has to be somebody pretty big

JackFrost
c0ffae00 Tue, Feb 11, 2020

So his opsec caused him to be jailed? wonder if it was improved maybe he could have avoided

Zer0Drama
dd165290 Tue, Feb 11, 2020

Poster child for shotty opsec. ( Only 2 mill? since 2015 ?) Johnny von Duche nozzle puts his whole family at risk.

ThinkIKnowWho
015cd4b0 Wed, Feb 12, 2020

maybe FastFoodUK

ThinkIKnowWho
0363cb70 Wed, Feb 12, 2020

maybe Ajaxfc

BettertoLiveinEuro
afb6f990 Wed, Feb 12, 2020

Seems like it’s best to vend out of the UK or other nearby countries in Europe.
Compared to the US .. European drug laws, and money laundering laws are alot more lax.

Looked like he was playing it very safe and close to the heart.
To the guy who said “only 2.4 million since 2015”…… Well dude, that’s $480,000 a year up to now. That’s a pretty good living, but also modest enough as to not raise attention compared to his shell tea company he created.

Sounds like he was a decently smart guy. And looked like he just had a bunch of shipments coming at once, siezed one and then seized the rest on the way thereafter to where he wouldn’t have realized it until they busted down his door with a warrant.

Definitely a good playbook for current vendors or ones wanting to get into the game to loosely follow.
Live a modest living, save, don’t flaunt it, know when to stop or slow down and don’t ever get greedy.

not sure
1f1441e0 Wed, Feb 12, 2020

how did he not notice his packages getting seized between August 2016 and novemeber 2017? i think he developed a false sense of security. he should have backed out when one didn't show up past customs IMO

frosty@frosty
049ce080 Wed, Feb 12, 2020

If you are vending and arent netting 3mm a year stop vending

Frostyhasdownsyndr
c7c38cf0 Wed, Feb 12, 2020

“ZoMg BrOnHoLiO iF yOuZ nOt MaKinG eIgHtY sIx QuAdRiLlIoN tHeN wHy YoU vEnDiNg BrAh?”

stupid troll is stupid…
the only thing you “vend” is those fake fent laced Oxys into your mouth.

Who does those
a468fe60 Wed, Feb 12, 2020

I highly doubt that the majority of dark net vendors pull ANYWHERE near 3 mil or EVEN $500,000 (roughly what this guy was netting) If the requirement for being a vendor was having this much volume, there would be no dark net markets whats so ever.

anon
8e6920f0 Wed, Feb 12, 2020

Mildly worrying for UK buyers. Sounds like a big seller

ivor bigun
900d89b0 Wed, Feb 12, 2020

clever my ass hole ,he wasnt even using tails ffs

MR SNOWMAN
d3d4da10 Thu, Feb 13, 2020

I got worried for a sec then I realized he got arrested long before I order from UK. Whew.

Frosty the fake
b551ddd0 Mon, Feb 17, 2020

HAAH Half these fucks are buying and reselling most of the vendors are small time dicks that buy OZs and break them down.

WRITE ARREST ME ON
cab0beb0 Mon, Mar 16, 2020

20kg confiscated but still carried on??? TWAT

me2
ec330e70 Thu, Mar 19, 2020

im almost certain this was BigPhil101 as this dude was arrested right when he went missing. RIP Fat man.

GBH
28f0f620 Sat, Mar 28, 2020

ITS TECHNOHIPPY

ITS OBVIOUS

Toasty Wosty Numny
6127d3c0 Thu, Apr 23, 2020

This guy wasn't that bad. I'm not sure if they raided him soon after intercepting his package but if not then he fucked up.

Not even
f46c9ff0 Tue, Jun 9, 2020

your mom uses tails.

ffs

rip
531ab020 Wed, Jun 10, 2020

timeline looks right for bigphil

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