Warwickshire MDMA Dealer Sentenced to 11.5 Years in Prison

~2 min read | Published on 2020-08-01, tagged DarkWebDrugsSentenced using 359 words.

A Warwickshire man will spend nearly 12 years in prison for buying MDMA on the darkweb and selling it to customers locally.
Joe Richens, 31, of Leamington, Warwickshire, pleaded guilty to importing and distributing MDMA, cocaine, and money laundering. According to the Warwickshire Police, Richens purchased MDMA and cocaine from darkweb vendors in the Netherlands.
The police, in a recent announcement, said the investigation into Richens lasted two years. The investigation was a part of “Operation Celsius,” they revealed. In 2018, customs officials at the Coventry Airport intercepted a suspicious package addressed to Richens. After opening the package, the customs officials found more than 280 grams of cocaine and almost 7,000 ecstasy pills. Using police-math, investigators valued the drugs at £100,000.
During their two-year investigation, the police linked Richens to 13 drug importations, including a package with 121 grams of cocaine and a package with 263 grams of MDMA. During a hearing at Warwick Crown Court, the prosecution said that Richens had imported and distributed up to 40 kilograms of drugs.
The police found three phones, a USB drive, and a hotel key after arresting Richens. During a search of his hotel room, the police found a machine used to seal packages, a scale, an assortment of packing supplies, and 576 ecstasy pills. Richens refused to decrypt his phone and the USB drive for investigators. However, the police extracted a single conversation from one of the phones. The conversation revealed that Richens had purchased Bitcoins worth £63,245.
In court, the prosecution accused Richens of earning £130,000 through his drug trafficking operation.

Richens pleaded guilty to:

  • offering to supply MDMA;
  • offering to supply cocaine;
  • possession with intent to supply MDMA;
  • money laundering;
  • two counts of conspiring to fraudulently evade a prohibition on the importation of a Class A drug.

  • On July 29, 2020, Judge Anthony Potter in the Warwickshire Crown Court sentenced Richens to 11 years and six months in prison.

    This result should send a clear message to those who believe they can hide behind the shadow of the dark web. We will use all of the tools available to us to investigate such crime and prevent technology from being used to commit a serious and organized crime.

    – Detective Inspector Richard Brown

    Comments (20)


    * waiting for the insider info in the comments *


    However, the police extracted a single conversation from one of the phones. The conversation revealed that Richens had purchased Bitcoins worth £63,245. Phone bad, TAILS OS USB would have been safe had he never spoke about it on the phone. Bet the BTC where in his Electrum wallet on TAILS OS. Why would anyone speak/text their Persistence pswd on TAILS OS? Future lesson kids, 1st rule of DNs, never talk about DNs on any electronic device. No text, no talk.


    That's a harsh sentence. Lessons here? 1. Try to avoid ordering international. 2. Don't use your own name to order international. 3. The police will wait for years to grab you. 4. Tails is not going to save you by refusing to decrypt, they'll just give you a harsher sentence.

    Don Juan2020-08-03

    Hello,and the pgp encryttion is no it?It is for knowing it,be good if you can.


    In the UK, prisoners typically spend half of their sentence in prison, so it's going to be 6 years. Being a non-violent offender, most of his time will be in an "OK" cat C prison, and possibly the last 18 months to 2 years in a cat D "open" prison with no bars on the windows, home visits up to 4 nights/5 days per month, and an outside job (coming back to prison in the evening under his own cognicanse). Obviously, nobody should go to prison for selling MDMA. But it's not as harsh as you Americans think.


    How the fuck do they justify almost 12 years for this? Rapists get less time in the UK.

    Homecastle you're wrong2020-08-03

    It's not half once you get over three years it's three quarters.




    holy fuck 12 years! that's hurt! what would have happen if he bought monero instead btc??

    Homecastle - I know what I'm talking about2020-08-04

    I'm currently serving the second half of a 6 year sentence for a drug offence, in the UK, and as you can see I'm at home on my laptop. If you get less than 4 years you are usually eligible for a home detention ankle tag BEFORE your halfway point, so you spend less than half of your tarrif in prison. There are exceptions to the British "50\%" rule for violent and high-risk offenders who have to satisgy a parole board.


    Homecastle how did you get caught if you don't mind me asking? What OPSEC mistakes did you make in retrospect?


    He could do a quarter of that time of he keeps straight and gets Tag.

    Homecastle truth2020-08-05

    Yep,I got tag,served a quarter of the time!

    Emma carter2020-08-06

    They must have had alot more evidence than the article suggests. Uk law requires evidence to proove a crime. It mentions they linked him to specific shipments with specific amounts. There must be alot more to this than is covered here. Also he pleaded guilty which suggests that he knew there was no point in denying anything.


    They found his hotel room with 500+ pills. They don't really need anything more. Good things: phone encryption and USB encryption seems to have stood up to penetration. That 12 years may also include for not giving up the Pw. Max 2 years for that I think.

    Tony tits2020-08-06

    The fucking markets logging everything. Change user account after each purchase.




    Why did they need more evidence? He imported a large quantity from a red flag country to his work address via a mailbox company, got caught, they watched his address and intercepted a further 13 large imports. They found some talk about buying a large amount of bitcoin but didn't have access to his tails persistent volume and he deposited large amount of cash profits into his bank account. Sounds like a classic case of bad opsec and questionable decisions leading him to get flagged in the first place.


    Might be scamming cunt cottageindustry hopefully


    I wonder what phone he used graphene os?