The ‘Breaking Bad’-inspired gang of students who made $1 million selling drugs on the dark web have been jailed


how to buy drugs on the silk road walkthrough

  • A gang of former student drug dealers from Manchester, England have been jailed for a combined 56 years.
  • The men, who were students at Manchester University, sold LSD, Ecstasy, and other drugs on the dark web, according to the UK’s National Crime Agency.
  • They were inspired by the TV show “Breaking Bad,” and made more than $1 million.

A “Breaking Bad”-inspired gang of British drug dealers who began selling drugs online to make money as students have been jailed for years.

The five men, currently aged between 25 and 28, made more than £800,000 ($1.1 million) through sales of Ecstasy, Ketamine, LSD, Valium, and other drugs on the dark web while students at Manchester University, according to the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA). They splashed their cash on lavish holidays in the Bahamas and Jamaica — but were first arrested shortly after the closure of the notorious Silk Road dark web marketplace back in 2013. 

On Wednesday, they were sentenced to a combined 56 years in jail by the Manchester Crown Court, the NCA announced.

Ringleader Basil Assaf has been given a sentence of 15 years and three months, while James Roden has been jailed for 12. Kaijishen Patel’s sentence is 11 years and two months, Elliott Hyams’ is 11 years and three months, and junior member Joshua Morgan’s is seven years and two months.

The Manchester Evening News previously reported that the group was inspired by “Breaking Bad” — the critically acclaimed TV show about a cancer-stricken chemistry teacher who starts cooking and selling crystal meth.

The NCA said the group operated from 2011 to 2013, selling drugs through Silk Road, an online marketplace for narcotics and other illicit goods that was part of the dark web — a section of the internet only accessible via software designed to obscure the user’s identity.

The group sold the equivalent of 240,000 ecstacy tablets (in liquid form), 1.4kg of ketamine, and 1.2kg of 2CB, according to the NCA, and took payment in both cash and cryptocurrencies. 

At one point, the NCA said things got ugly between some of the group, with Assaf threatening to tell Hyams’ mother about his activities and firing him from the operation: “I won’t hesitate to ruin your life. Your mother will find out the truth.” He subsequently did tell her.

When officers moved in on the group’s flat, they found 11,000 doses of LSD, £4,500 in cash, scales, packages, and label printers, according to the agency.

In a statement, NCA senior operations manager Ian Glover said: “These five men were interested only in making money. They had no regard whatsoever for the harm these drugs could do to their users.”

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The death penalty is on the decline in the US — here are the states that still have the power to execute prisoners


jeff sessions

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo on Wednesday outlining how federal prosecutors could seek the death penalty for drug traffickers.
  • President Donald Trump has recently been calling for drug dealers to receive the death penalty.
  • But capital punishment has reached record lows across the US — at both the state and federal levels.
  • Though most states still technically retain the death penalty, very few actually use it.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo on Wednesday directing federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty on drug traffickers “when appropriate.”

Sessions outlined several statutes that allow prosecutors to seek capital punishment for drug-related crime, including racketeering, use of firearms resulting in death during a drug-trafficking crime, murder in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise, and dealing in extremely large quantities of drugs.

“I strongly encourage federal prosecutors to use these statutes, when appropriate, to aid in our continuing fight against drug trafficking and the destruction it causes in our nation,” Sessions’ memo said.

The move comes after repeated calls from President Donald Trump in recent weeks for drug dealers to be executed as a solution to the opioid crisis.

“If we don’t get tough on the drug dealers, we are wasting our time,” Trump told a New Hampshire crowd on Monday. “This is about winning a very, very tough problem, and if we don’t get very tough on these dealers, it is not going to happen, folks.”

But it’s an unusual view to gain prominence in 2018 — use of the death penalty has steadily declined since the 1970s, and few states still execute prisoners regularly.

In fact, despite Trump’s newfound advocacy on the issue, the federal government can already seek the death penalty for drug traffickers under current law — but it doesn’t, and it would likely run afoul of a 2008 Supreme Court ruling if it tried.

The majority of states also retain capital punishment, but few of them have actually used it in recent years. There are even 16 states that haven’t executed a single prisoner since 1976, according to The Marshall Project.

As the death penalty fades out of use across the country, many states have even put the issue on the ballot in recent years. But voters have been reluctant to abolish capital punishment completely, no matter how rarely it’s used.

death penalty in the united states

Here are all the states that still retain the death penalty, but haven’t executed anyone in at least five years:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Harvard researchers found in 2016 that the US’s use of the death penalty is mainly fueled by just a handful of counties — they’re known as “outlier” counties and they’re scattered throughout states like Texas, Alabama, and Florida.

The researchers found that the counties that still actively pursue the death penalty tend to have several factors in common: overzealous prosecutors, inadequate defense attorneys, and racial bias.

SEE ALSO: Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Florida shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz

DON’T MISS: Just 16 counties are fueling America’s use of the death penalty

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NOW WATCH: Here’s why the death penalty and longer prison sentences don’t really deter crime

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The Trump administration targeted H-1B visas again — here’s why the program is so controversial


FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump smiles after signing an executive order directing federal agencies to recommend changes to a temporary visa program used to bring foreign workers to the United States to fill high-skilled jobs during a visit to the world headquarters of Snap-On Inc, a tool manufacturer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., April 18, 2017.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

  • The federal government announced Tuesday it’s suspending premium processing for applicants for the popular H-1B visa program.
  • The suspension was meant to help federal officials reduce the overall visa processing times.
  • The Trump administration has frequently targeted the H-1B visa program in his effort to curb legal immigration.

For the second year in a row, the Trump administration has suspended a program that allows skilled foreign workers to fast-track their applications for a highly coveted US visa.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services agency announced Tuesday that “premium processing” for the H-1B visa will be suspended through September 10, meaning applicants and their prospective US employers are temporarily barred from paying an extra $1,225 fee to have their petitions processed within a shortened 15-day timeframe — instead of the usual months-long wait.

The announcement came barely two weeks before the window opens for H-1B applications to be filed for fiscal year 2019.

“This temporary suspension will help us reduce overall H-1B processing times,” USCIS said in a news release, adding that the agency has been struggling with a high volume of incoming H-1B petitions and a “significant surge” in requests for premium processing.

President Donald Trump has frequently targeted the H-1B visa program in his effort to curb legal immigration, even signing an executive order last April specifically targeting the program for federal review.

Critics have assailed the H-1B visa program for years, arguing companies use it to hire cheap, foreign workers in place of Americans.

Its proponents say it provides much-needed skilled workers to sectors where companies have struggled to hire Americans.

Here’s everything you need to know about the H-1B visa program:

SEE ALSO: Trump’s immigration policies are opening a door to the Silicon Valley of the North

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What is the H-1B visa program?

The H-1B program allots temporary visas to foreign workers with specialized skills.

H-1B visa holders are classified as “nonimmigrants” who are not expected to permanently reside in the US. Instead, they are intended to be guest workers hired for jobs US companies have struggled to fill with Americans.

Their visas are valid for three years at a time, and can be renewed only once for another three-year period before workers are expected to leave the US for at least a year.

Demand for H-1B visas has vastly outstripped supply, and they are therefore awarded by an annual lottery system that results in a chaotic rush to mail in paperwork the very day applications open.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) doles out 85,000 such visas annually — 65,000 go to foreign workers who possess at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and an additional 20,000 for those who have earned a master’s degree or higher in the US.

Trump took aim at the “totally random” lottery system in his remarks on Tuesday, saying the visa system must ensure that only the most skilled, highly paid workers are allotted such visas — and never at the expense of American labor.

Last year, USCIS received 199,000 H-1B applications within five days, the fifth year in a row the visa cap was exceeded in a week or less. Yet applications also dropped from 236,000 applications the previous year.

It was a significant enough drop that former USCIS director Leon Rodriguez speculated to the Wall Street Journal that Trump’s vows to crack down on the program may have deterred some would-be applicants.

Who uses them?

The vast majority of H-1B visa applicants work in science, technology, engineering, and math occupations, according to USCIS data from recent years.

But H-1B visas are used for a variety of other workers outside STEM fields, including teachers, journalists, and models.

Trump’s own companies have made significant use of the H-1B program. Trump Model Management and Trump Management Group LLC, combined, have sponsored nearly 250 models under the program’s special H-1B3 visa category for models “of distinguished merit or ability,” according to The New York Times.

Even First Lady Melania Trump worked as a model on an H-1B during the 1990s before obtaining a green card in 2001.

H-1B applicants also disproportionately hail from India, and are sponsored by Indian outsourcing firms. Companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, and Wipro have been called out by the White House and media as scooping up the brunt of the available H-1B visas in recent years.

In 2014, just 13 outsourcing companies — seven of them based in India — took nearly one-third of all available H-1B visas in 2014, according to The New York Times.

Why is it controversial?

The H-1B was intended to bring skilled labor and talent thought to be unavailable within the American workforce to the US . Silicon Valley companies in particular have been vocal proponents of the program, arguing that it supplies necessary talent to growing sectors that need the innovation and creativity.

But critics say the H-1B program is being exploited by companies to hire cheap foreign labor instead of their more expensive American peers. Anecdotes of American workers being forced to train the H-1B visa holders who are replacing them for lower pay have proliferated throughout the media in recent years.

Companies are required under federal regulations to declare that the H-1B workers they employ are not displacing American workers, but a loophole exempts them from that rule if the guest workers they employ are paid at least $60,000 per year.

Since American tech workers usually earn higher salaries than $60,000, companies are able to hire foreign workers at lower salaries than American ones, and need not prove they are not undercutting American labor. White House officials have said that a full 80% of H-1B workers are paid less than the median wage for workers in their fields.

Trump has been a staunch opponent of H-1B visas since the early days of his campaign, despite his companies’ previous use of the program.

“The H1B program is neither high-skilled nor immigration: these are temporary foreign workers, imported from abroad, for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at lower pay,” Trump said in March 2016.

“I will end forever the use of H1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions.”

The criticisms have validity — a recent research paper found that companies’ use of the H-1B program between 1994 and 2001 kept wages down by up to 5.1% and employment of US workers down by as much as 10.8%, even while it created positive effects on the US economy and corporate profits.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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