'Caught red handed' | 

Co Antrim dark web Bitcoin drug dealer handed 42 month sentence

Judge Alistair Devlin recommended that once freed, 33-year-old Kamil Balicki be deported back to his native Poland

Paul HigginsSunday World

A dark web drug dealer who tried to hide his illicit and illegal operation by getting customers to pay in Bitcoin was handed a 42 month sentence this week.

In addition to the sentence with half to be served in jail and half on licence, Judge Alistair Devlin recommended that once freed, 33-year-old Kamil Balicki be deported back to his native Poland.

Balicki, appearing at court by videolink from Maghaberry prison but with an address at Carndale Meadows in Ballymena in Antrim, had earlier entered guilty pleas to four drug offences including two counts each of supplying class A and B drugs between 19 May 2020 and 17 January last year and one of having £3,296 of criminal property.

That cash, along with heroin, cannabis and amphetamine, was seized by police when they raided Balicki’s home on 17 January last year.

Prosecuting counsel Michael Chambers outlined how that search was triggered by the PSNI cyber crime team after their officers “identified that cocaine and heroin were being offered for sale for £40 per gram on the dark web by an individual using the moniker: “dreamliner777.”

Presented itself as an online shop selling cocaine and heroin, Mr Chambers said the site came “complete with pictures of the goods” and even had space for “reviews from satisfied customers.”

During the resulting search, cops also seized 42.43 grams of class A heroin worth between £1,600 and £5,000, 19.79 grams of amphetamine, a class B drug also known as speed which was worth about £200 and 32 grams of herbal cannabis, also a class B drug, which had an approximate street value of £310.

Officers also uncovered heat seal bags, deal bags, scales, postal envelopes and stamps and a bucket which “tested positive for cocaine and had been used to cut and mix drugs.”

A laptop and mobile phone were examined and it was evidence retrieved on those which established that Balicki had been involved in the sale and supply of four different types of drugs.

“Sales through the Dreamliner website were posted to customers and payment was made to the defendant in Bitcoins,” said Mr Chambers, adding that “police enquiries with the defendant’s bank account revealed that he purchased £10,000 of crypto currency between March and July 2021 and that over £90,000 of transactions passed through his Bitcoin wallet.”

Prosecuting counsel submitted there were numerous aggravating features to the case including the fact that Balicki was selling different types of drugs, the length of time his dark web business was operating and his efforts to conceal proceeds by use of dark web/Bitcoin.”

Jailing Balicki and ordering him to serve half his sentence in jail and half on licence, Judge Devlin said while the dealer was due credit for pleading guilty, that had to seen in the context of an “overwhelming” prosecution case where he was “effectively caught red handed” running a commercial operation in the sale and supply of a menu of illegal drugs, particularly heroin which is a “highly addictive and particularly pernicious drug.”

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