Ex KFC employee & dark web millionaire vendor will pay $2.3 million in fines

British authorities have dealt a severe blow to cybercrime. According to cyber security audit experts, a Leicestershire-based man accused of operating an online drug trafficking network has been sentenced to prison, and the authorities will seize the profits he made from his criminal activities.

Paul Johnson and his wife Lia were ordered to grant authorities £2.4 million, an amount they obtained from the sale of drugs on dark web.

Cyber security audit specialists mention that Johnson controlled this drug trafficking network from 2015 to 2017, for which he registered a company and rented three properties. The defendant received shipments of drugs at these facilities and then advertised them in multiple underground forums. During the final stage of his criminal activity, Johnson moved his operations to the basement of his home.  

Johnson’s arrest was made possible by the UK border authorities detecting and confiscating some packages aimed at property rented by the accused.   

After obtaining a search warrant, police arrived at Johnson’s home, which was found performing Bitcoin transactions with suspected drug buyers. During the operation, the authorities found addictive substances with a market value of more than 9 thousand pounds, in addition to at least 22 Bitcoin on the defendant’s laptop, cyber security audit experts reported.

Johnson was charged with drug trafficking and electronic fraud, while his wife was charged with money laundering; while authorities say Lia Johnson knew of the illegal nature of her husband’s business, he was not an active participant in the sale of banned substances. Johnson was eventually sentenced to eight years in prison, while his wife received a two-year sentence.

According to official reports, the couple maintained an ostentatious lifestyle that could hardly have been afforded by a man with common employment, such as a KFC job.

The courts agreed that the crimes committed by Paul Johnson generated considerable economic benefits, so the court issued a confiscation order. If this order is not fulfilled, the defendant could face ten years in addition to his sentence for non-compliance, while his wife would be sentenced to two more years in prison.

According to the International Institute of Cyber Security, in cases of this nature the British authorities divide the confiscated money among their different areas, including administrative activities, intelligence, and criminal system, among others. Although the authorities have taken important steps in combating criminal activities on dark web, there is still much work to be done.