A Darknet Market vendor from Cow Cliffe Road in Huddersfield was sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple drug-related offenses. Simon Barclay, a 41-year-old man, sold cocaine on the darknet and was captured red-handed by the Kirklees District Programme Precision Team and the Yorkshire & Humber Regional Cyber Crime Unit (RCCU). He had earned over £ 5.85 million (in crypto) during his time as a cocaine and heroin dealer. Now there’s an order to pay more than £ 4.9 million under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Arresting Simon Barclay
In early 2021, the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) initiated an investigation into Simon Barclay. This was after connecting the Yorkshire man to darknet activities and drug trafficking. The ERSOU worked for several months to develop the investigation and identify Barclay. Once he was identified, Barclay was monitored making regular drops to a local post office from addresses linked to him. The Kirklees Programme Precision Officers eventually arrested him back in November 2021.
According to the West Yorkshire Police statement, police stopped Barclay in Huddersfield on November 3, 2021. At the time he carried a bag and three mobile phones. Authorities searched the bag and discovered multiple envelopes addressed to various darknet clients. The bag also contained a range of illegal substances, including cocaine and heroin.
After a warrant to search of his properties and computer equipment, the authorities found Barclay’s excessive amount of drugs and his cryptocurrency wallet. At the time of his arrest, Barclay held over £5.48 million in crypto. Additionally, his home contained £1.2 million in cocaine, cannabis, and heroin. This marked the largest-ever cryptocurrency seizure by West Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit.
The authorities did not go into details on how they managed to link Barclay to his darknet vendor account, nor which Darknet Market he used. However, they claim that it was his Dark Web activities that led to Barclay’s arrest. Possibly due to bad OpSec, here’s how you can get your OpSec up to date!
“Barclay used 21st-century technology to run his large-scale drugs supply network. Ironically though, it was his attempts to stay hidden by using the dark web which brought him to our attention. The Regional Cyber Crime Unit works with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and local forces to target online criminality and bring to the surface methods of communication that those involved in the crime would rather stay hidden and anonymous.”an RCCU officer
As he was captured red-handed, he had no hope of fighting the system and was happy to plead guilty. The 41-year-old had accrued three prison sentences for drug dealing prior to this; making it his fourth major offense for dealing drugs. He clearly wasn’t good at his job (Not to mention that he was hooked on his own stash)
Nine-Years Plus $4.9 Million
His crimes resulted in a nine-year prison sentence, starting last year on June 15th, 2022.
“I have not come across a fourth-time supplier. [Here] we have an operation that was running for over two years in which you supplied drugs online using the dark web. You were packaging and delivering orders and were caught in the process of making a delivery in November of last year. Cryptocurrency worth £5.5 million was found on devices in your possession. This (operation) was not run by you, but you were playing a part with skill and determination.”Baffled by his record, Honour Judge Batty claimed
As this was the largest cryptocurrency seizure of its kind, the authorities wanted to make it clear how they would handle further issues. But Barclay did not handle his stash properly.
“[Barclay] is someone who is susceptible to pressure and vulnerable to exploitation. He was heavily using drugs at the time and had a drugs debt. He was living in squalor – it was not a luxurious lifestyle.”According to Barclays Lawyer,
After a lengthy trial, Barclay has now received his final verdict to go along with his prison sentence. That being a solid £4,921,637 fine (which is everything Barclay had knowingly accumulated.) The funds have already been converted back to sterling to pay the confiscation order.
”This confiscation is the largest cryptocurrency seizure to date by West Yorkshire Police. This very large seizure makes plain that no matter how criminals try to conceal their ill-gotten gains, we have the specialist investigators in West Yorkshire to deal with it.”
This multi-million-pound confiscation from Barclay marks the final stage of an investigation by agencies across the UK to dismantle a sophisticated drugs enterprise. Will it act as a deterrent to others involved in similar activities?
Hey there, I’m a dark web geek who’s been around for the last 8 years. More precisely, I’m livedarknet’s senior content writer who’s been writing about darknet marketplaces, tutorials, and cybersecurity stuff for educational purposes.