UK court discovers former KFC employee ran extensive crypto-drug operations from home

Paul Johnson managed an international drug exchange while posing as a tea trader online

Criminals working in a shady room
Paul Johnson had built a darknet marketplace with connections from around the world from within the confines of his basement

32-year-old Paul Johnson, a former KFC employee, was found to have been running a darknet marketplace from his semi-detached house in Leicestershire.

According to the Harborough Mail, Johnson was a business studies graduate who posed as a tea trader to cover his extensive international drug exchange. He resided in Market Harborough with his wife, Lia Johnson and was arrested last December 2017 and sentenced to eight years in February.

Digital media investigators who accompanied the raid immediately proved Johnson’s guilt by showing evidence from his laptop of illicit trades made with bitcoins.

Authorities revealed that Johnson imported and sold more than 400 pounds of heroin, cocaine, LSD, cannabis and ketamine, with all of his store’s purchases made through Bitcoin.

The local media quoted Judge Martin Hurst, who said that the drug dealer generated a total revenue of around £2,183,304 ($2.77 million). However, they only managed to confiscate £1,837,601 ($2.29 million).

Johnson has been ordered to forfeit the total within three months, as well as other assets including a £20,000 ($25,454) Range Rover and a £30,300 ($38,560) Nissan Juke, which will be put up for sale.

Both vehicles were driven by Johnson’s wife at the time, since Johnson himself did not know how to drive.

The former KFC employee was indicted for possession of class A and B drugs, possession with the intent to supply class A drugs, improper importation of goods to the UK and five counts of money laundering.

His ex-wife, who now goes by the name of Taylor-Walton, was given a two year suspended sentence due to her complicity with the online drug empire. She admitted acquiring criminal property, which was their home, and the criminal couple admitted to similar counts over both their vehicles.

The hearing was told that Taylor-Walton pocketed £143,040 ($180,962), with the amount seized totalling at £134,872 ($170,642).

Local law enforcement seized drugs on Johnson’s property. These included MDMA tablets, LSD, heroin and ketamine, as well as other related paraphernalia.

A study from Crystal Blockchain Analytics, released on May 19, revealed that the total value of Bitcoin in USD transferred on the dark web rose by as much as 65% in the first quarter of 2020, even though there was a decline in transactions during the same period in 2019.

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