A 40-year-old Bellevue, Washington man who was a prolific drug dealer on the online marketplace “Silk Road,” was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five years in prison and four years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute illegal drugs, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. STEVEN SADLER sold nearly a million dollars’ worth of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine to people who ordered over the internet via the Silk Road site. He shipped the drugs through the mail. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said he is “troubled by this new method, new frontier of drug dealing that is creating a new crop of victims.”
“This defendant thought he could use the internet to spread the poison of illegal drugs far and wide,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “We will not allow internet connectivity to be blatantly misused to harm public safety. Moreover, as this and other prosecutions demonstrate, attempts to hide in the “dark net” will not succeed.”
According to records in the case, SADLER, under the screen name NOD, began selling illegal drugs on Silk Road in 2012. The internet site was dubbed an anonymous marketplace, where the majority of the business was the sale of illegal drugs. SADLER was selling as much as $70,000 worth of cocaine each month as a dealer on the internet site. When police searched his apartment on July 31, 2013, they found more than a kilogram of cocaine and heroin each, as well as 400 grams of methamphetamine. They also found a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol hidden under the mattress in his bedroom. SADLER is also forfeiting a 2007 BMW 525 and $4,200 cash seized the day the search warrants were served.
“Sadler transformed himself into one of the top Silk Road drug distributors and profited from the destruction of untold lives,” said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Seattle. “Criminals who operate digital black markets and those who trade their illicit goods on them believe they are above the law. They are mistaken. HSI and its partners are dedicating considerable resources to infiltrating and dismantling underground Internet sites such as the former Silk Road.”
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Woods.