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A group of Manchester students made over £800k selling drugs on the dark web

One of them paid off his entire student debt

A group of five students who studied at the University of Manchester have made £812,000 selling pills and ketamine on the dark web.

Their actual profit is thought to be higher due to the increase in bitcoin value in recent years.

The group sold $750,000 worth of ecstasy, 2CB and ketamine to countries in Europe, as well as the US, New Zealand and Australia.

Unfortunately, the five men have all been jailed for between 7-15 years.

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While at Manchester Uni, the men began funding their own drug habits by selling, and the ease of apparent safety of the dark web was appealing, and led them to run a much larger operation.

According to The Times, they were photographed wearing hats with the phrase "Billionaire Boys Club" on and were reportedly inspired by Walter White's story from Breaking Bad.

The group was even nominated for the drug dealer of the year award. Assaf bragged to another member about it, saying: “Nominated for shotter of the year haha on SR. Someone posted a thread and prof nominated us. TBF if they knew what we did IRL we do deserve it.”

One of the students even claims to have paid off his student loan and bought a city centre flat in Manchester.

The group are reported to have spent their money partying in the Bahamas, Jamaica and Amsterdam, drinking Veuve Clicquot.

However, their glamorous lifestyle was interrupted when the FBI intervened, shutting down the Silk Road in October 2013. In the flat where the operation was being run, they found laptops used to access the dark web, thousands of pounds in cash, a baseball bat next to the front door and drugs including LSD, ecstasy, ketamine and diazepam.

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Assaf, Roden, Patel, Hyams, Morgan

The gang included: Basil Assaf, the 26-year-old ring leader, who studied Petrochemical Engineering and has been sentenced for 15 years. James Roden, 25, Computer Science, has a 12 year sentence. Jaikishen Patel, 26, an 11 year two month sentence.

Elliot Hyams, 26, Geology, was removed from the group after falling out with Assaf, but still received an 11 year three month sentence.

Joshua Morgan, 28, studied Marketing and received a shorter sentence of seven years and two months, as he played a lesser role in the operation, as the packager.

The judge for the case told the five men: “As intelligent men, you will each appreciate the misery that is caused and contributed to by people like you.

“My duty is threefold: firstly, to protect the public from people like you. Second, to punish you, and third, to deter those who may be similarly minded to act this way in the future.

“These offences are so serious that only immediate custody and sentences of some length can be considered.”

Assaf said in messages uncovered in the investigation he was “more than happy to do time for all of this. If [bitcoin] continues going up while we’re inside there’s a chance we’ll come out with mills.”

Prosecutors have been unable to trace their bitcoin so far.