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Feds charge four in GLOBAL Silk Road METH RING case

Indictment alleges crank-for-Bitcoin exchange

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American prosecutors have charged four people with selling crystal meth through the defunct online drugs market Silk Road.

The US Attorney for the District of Oregon, Amanda Marshall, indicted the three men and one woman over allegations they were involved in a conspiracy to sell methamphetamine over the internet. She also charged them with 15 counts of international and domestic money laundering.

The four people named in the indictment are Jason Weld Hagen, 39, and Chelsea Leah Reder, 23, who both live in the Vancouver, Washington area, and Richard Egan Webster, 45, and Donald Ross Bechen, 39, who live in Washington County.

The indictment alleges that one of the group went under the name "Hammertime" on Silk Road.

The Feds allege the suspects organised the sale of meth through Silk Road and then used commercial postal carriers to send it to domestic customers as well as addresses in Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy and the United Kingdom.

The US Department of Justice wrote: "The indictment alleges that Hagen and his three Portland-area conspirators were responsible for the sale of over 17 pounds of methamphetamine to various buyers via Silk Road on approximately 3,169 occasions.

"In addition, the indictment alleges that Hagen, using the Silk Road alias 'hammertime', would receive payment in Bitcoins and then convert them to US currency using various electronic money transfer systems including Paypal and Western Union, along with various reloadable and stored value cards."

The trial will commence on 18 February, 2014.

According to the DoJ, the Silk Road had 957,079 registered users who conducted more than $1.2bn worth of dodgy deals. Officers at the Homeland Security Investigations were first tipped off about Silk Road in late 2011 and immediately began trying to close it down.

A man called Ross Ulbricht was charged with running the market under the name Dread Pirate Roberts, but he has denied having anything to do with the online drugs bazaar. ®

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