David Trail (26), the administrator of the dark net drug dealing website Topix2, was sentenced to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £17,000 compensation at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. He administered the dark web website from his home at Fountain Park, which was used to sell illegal substances to customers. In addition to this, Trail hacked to one of his former employer’s computer and stolen credit card details and other information of the employer’s customers.
Trail was traced down first by the FBI, who transferred information to German authorities of concealed servers not easily accessible to normal users, which were linked to online drug marketplaces. After that, the police narcotics squad in Hesse, Germany, linked the Topix2 site to an individual in Scotland and contacted Scottish law enforcement authorities about Trail. Authorities in Scotland obtained a warrant and searched the man’s home at November 6, 2014, where a quantity of diazepam was recovered along with evidence that Trail had been selling drugs to customers throughout Europe.
Police found the man’s computer as being “very sophisticated with operating systems that would require an advanced level of skill to use”. The keyboard was blank and had been customized by Trail in an attempt to prevent access to the private files on his computer, which could be used as evidence in his case.
Sheriff Crowe sentenced Trail to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £17,000 in compensation.
Andrew Richardson, procurator fiscal for Edinburgh and COPFS cybercrime lead, said in response to the criminal’s sentencing:
“David Trail thought that using his extensive technical expertise he could carry out illegal activities and avoid detection, he was wrong. Criminals such as this should be aware that law enforcement agencies here in Scotland and throughout the world have state of the art forensic systems analysis at their disposal to identify and trace those seeking to stay below the radar when using the ‘dark web’ for criminality. In addition to the vast technical resources available, by sharing information across continents enables the capture and prosecution of individuals wherever they may commit their crimes.”