On Wednesday, a heroin dealer shared with jurors in a Manhattan federal court what his experience was like selling on Silk Road, the anonymous online marketplace.
Michael Duch, 40, was a witness at the criminal trial of Ross Ulbricht, who allegedly ran Silk Road using the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts. Duch said he first started selling in April 2013 because he needed money for his own $2,000 to $3,000 a week heroin addiction, USA Today reports. He signed up using the name Deezletime, and was soon shipping heroin across the United States.
Duch said he would buy his supply from a street dealer in New Jersey, then double the price and sell it online as "East Coast style heroin," making $345.69 for each brick, or 50 small bags. Because so many customers wanted their packages quickly to avoid becoming "dopesick," he offered same-day shipping, following Silk Road instructions to wrap the product in moisture-barrier packets inside of plain mailing containers. Duch was paid in Bitcoin, the electronic currency used on Silk Road, and most of his money was going to his addiction or back into the business.
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While trying to ship 25 packages of heroin at a post office in October 2013, Duch was arrested, the same month Ulbricht was nabbed in San Francisco. He agreed to cooperate with authorities right away, and said during his testimony that the whole thing seemed like a surefire way to make money and keep up his drug habit. "I saw the relative ease that came with it," he said. "There was a perceived level of safety and anonymity. I felt I could get away with it."
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