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Silk Road Vendor Pleaded Guilty to Drug Distribution in Fatal Overdose Case

Kevin Campbell, a drug treatment worker from Chicago pleaded guilty to the distribution of controlled substances via the Silk Road marketplace. After a one-year investigation between 2013 and 2014, Chicago law enforcement raided Campbell’s Chicago home and found further evidence to connect the suspect to a 2013 crime in Bellevue, Washington. In August 2013, Washington emergency response crews attended a 911 call and found a heroin overdose victim with the Silk Road pulled up on a screen in front of him.

A house guest made the 911 call, according to court documents. He reported finding Jordan Mettee, 27, unconscious in his bedroom. When investigators arrived at the scene, they began to put a case together against a darknet vendor that fit Campbell’s profile.

Mettee left his Silk Road account logged in and investigators easily decrypted messages between Mettee and a vendor who sold both heroin and prescription benzodiazepines—in this case, the vendor sold the 27-year-old heroin and alprazolam. U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes for the U.S. District Court in Seattle mentioned that the defendant sold additional drugs but never clarified if he sold anything else to the overdose victim.

The 27-year-old died of IV heroin overdose and Haynes said nothing of additional drugs in his system. However, other branches of law enforcement independently investigated Campbell’s vendor profile from Colorado. There, court documents described, a confidential informant worked with local police to catch the man behind the mask. He sold, unknowingly, “Xanax pills” to the officers through the informant’s account.

Police officers and case detectives found, next to the body of the deceased, a DVD case with Campbell’s fingerprints on it.

Officers collected evidence throughout the one-year investigation—and, while not mentioned in the announcement, traced Campbell from the Silk Road to additional marketplaces. The buyer, Jordan Mettee, bought from Campbell until August 2013. The original Silk Road never saw the end of the year; the FBI brought it down in October of the same year. However, the prosecutors claimed that Campbell continued to sell heroin, alprazolam, and diazepam online until the day of his arrest in 2014.

Law enforcement in Chicago raided the 47-year-old drug treatment center employee in May 2014. They discovered a small amount of drugs, scales, bags, modified DVD cases that matched those received by the Colorado police and Mettee. He kept incriminating notes although officials never disclosed their full contents.

“This case is an outrage and a tragedy at the same time,” Hayes said. “What allowed this defendant to work at a drug treatment center with people in the grips of addiction, and at the same time peddle dangerous drugs across the country via the dark web? The heroin this defendant sold killed one of his customers. At sentencing we will ask the Court for a sentence that reflects that fact.”

Heroin overdoses repeatedly find their way to the news and cycle back to either carfentanil or the darknet. Often both. The majority of heroin overdoses are not remotely related to the darknet—at least in a buyer–vendor situation, but some recent cases began changing that.

Kevin Campbell pleaded guilty to drug distribution in early February 2017. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour scheduled the defendant’s sentencing date for May 9, 2017. According to the terms agreed upon in the plea agreement, the prosecution can call for a prison sentence of 10 years, maximum.

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