A former A-grade Darwin rugby league player has been jailed for trying to commercially distribute hundreds of MDMA tablets bought through the “dark web”.
- Brown was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended after three months
- The judge described Brown’s offending as a “selfish” act to fuel his own drug habit
- Australia has one of highest rates of dark web drug deals per capita
Litchfield Bears player and under-eights coach Gavin Brown, 27, used the cryptocurrency bitcoin to buy about $6,000 worth of MDMA to be sold in the Northern Territory, the Supreme Court heard.
The plumbing trades assistant gave evidence he had ventured into the dark web to purchase 500 MDMA tablets and bypass expensive Darwin dealers.
In sentencing Brown last month, Justice Peter Barr said the court had been told the offender “had not previously engaged with the dark web to purchase drugs”.
“You accessed the dark web in order to obtain pills more cheaply than from dealers around Darwin city,” Justice Barr said.
‘Selfish’ dealer handed 18-month sentence
While the court conceded Brown’s own drug habit would have accounted for about 100 of the pills, the remaining 400 were bought to be sold in “nightclubs and pubs” around the Top End capital.
“The current Darwin street price for a single MDMA tablet is $40 to $50,” Justice Barr said.
“If you had sold the remaining 400 tablets at that price, you stood to receive between $16,000 and $20,000.”
Justice Barr sentenced the former Taminmin College student to 18 months behind bars.
However, this was to be suspended after three months, considering Brown’s employment and the “looming family responsibilities” of his partner’s pregnancy.
“Your intended venture into the world of commercial dealing was to enable you to get your drugs for free,” Justice Barr said.
“That is, of course, very selfish because you were putting your own interests ahead of the interests of the community.”
High concentration of dark web deals
The dark web, or dark net, is name for illegal, encrypted online marketplaces which drug dealers and others are known to frequent to undertake anonymous transactions.
Australia has one of the world’s highest concentrations of dark net drug dealers, according to criminology research released in 2018.
The Australian Institute of Criminology data revealed Australia was second only to the Netherlands in its concentration of dark web narcotics deals per capita.
In a statement released in 2018, the Australian Federal Police said it was aware of illicit trading on the dark web and was working with its partners to combat all forms of technology-enabled crime.