Two players who worked with the biggest methamphetamine dealer on the dark-net site “Silk Road” were sentenced Wednesday for their roles in the conspiracy (Vendor Hammertime).
Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones sentenced Richard E. Webster to 2 ½ years in prison and gave Chelsea L. Reder credit for time served (she had served a day in jail) because, as Jones put it, “She was a small pebble in a huge operation.”
The operation was run by Jason Weld Hagen, scarcely your standard meth dealer. The 40-year-old Vancouver resident, who holds a doctoral degree in philosophy from Purdue, pleaded guilty in February to running a $607,000 drug and money laundering conspiracy.
Hagen operated on Silk Road, an anonymous Internet marketplace that opened in 2011, a kind of Wild West bazaar for illegal guns, heroin, false passports and all manner of shady transactions. And it was all hidden on the cloud, an open secret with a website full of advertisements.
Hagen, who used the screen name “hammertime,” bypassed banks by converting Bitcoin cyber-money. He first got Reder to mail packages for him, later setting her up as “Money Honey” to exchange the currency, U.S. court papers reveal.
Nearly two years ago, police found Webster in the Beaverton Hilton Garden in possession of an ounce of meth, $2,320 in cash, a digital scale, used syringes, a cellphone and a computer – all part of what government prosecutors described as a meth distribution hub.
Hagen’s His crew made 3,169 sales, with purchasers across North America and in Australia, Italy, the U.K., Czech Republic and other nations, according to court documents.