Dark Web Drug Dealer Loses Appeal
According to a recent report, an appeal to get a prison sentence for Andrew Hodge reduced has been dismissed. Hodge was arrested for darknet drug distribution. He was found guilty by plea and sentenced to eight years and seven months. However, he did not think the judge would increase his years. This was more than a year ago August 2017. He commanded his trade on the dark web and has been linked to the death of a teenager. Despite the fact that he pleaded guilty to the drug counts, his lawyers believe that his sentence was unfair considering the scale of the operation and the number of drugs involved.
The appeal was largely driven by the observation that Hodge operated with a low key type of drug and only dealt on a similar small basis. The argument presented before the appeals court was too weak for Justice O’Farrell, and two other judges. They stated that they did not consider any further reduction to the sentence. This means that Hodge has no choice but to serve his remaining time.
Hodge popped on the radar of local and federal authorities after a teenager drowned two years ago. It was perhaps an overdose as a result of specific pills purchased from Hodge. Nathan Wood was 16 years old when he over consumed the street drug known as N-Bomb. N-bomb has also led to the death of a British woman proving to be one of the more dangerous drugs sold on the dark web.
A further search led to the discovery that the teenager bought the drugs from someone else who bought them from Hodge. Wood was seen running naked towards the river in distress prior to his death.
Following his death, “Operation Venus” was launched to disrupt the supply of drugs in the country. Hodge got caught in the middle of the investigation. When the teenager went missing, the associate who bought the drugs from Hodge told him about the kid taking the drugs he sold him. Hodge assured him that he may be found in Dartington.
Authorities searched his house and obtained pieces of evidence of his illegal drug engagement, including a package of recreational drugs which had arrived from the dark web. In January 2017, another search in his home and car provided a hint that he used a PO box address at Torquay to receive his packages. A search in the box also led to the discovery of drugs ordered from the online black market. A notebook found under a microwave contained places where his drugs were hidden.
According to the court, Hodge was a frequent attendee of festivals and events as he used this as an opportunity to sell his drugs.
Defending, Lee Bremridge, said to the court that Hodge worked as a Conveyancing solicitor in Plymouth before turning to the drug trade after losing his job in 2012.
Hodge pleaded guilty to four counts of possessing Class A and B drugs. At the Exeter Court, he also pleaded guilty to five other counts of possessing a class A drug with the intent to distribute. He, however, pleaded not guilty to three other counts. According to Justice O’Farrell, he was not handed with any charge related to the death of the teenager since it was not a direct cause; however, Nathan’s family were present at the court hearings. Nathan’s family expressed their satisfaction with the sentence saying that Hodge will not be able to harm children again.
South Devon Sector Inspector Chris Tapley also expressed his satisfaction with the operation that led to the arrest and the sentence.
Jonathan Barnes clarified that even though Hodge was not charged with drug supply that resulted in the death of the teenager, this kind of trade causes people to lose their lives any way. The drug overdose death toll in the country, in general, has accelerated in recent years, especially in Utah which recorded a significant increase in 2016.
District Chief James Brice added that the operation of disrupting illegal drugs and chasing out drug dealers is still ongoing. Their target is to protect the most vulnerable group in the community.