Portsmouth Crown Court heard how a father and son had allegedly distributed thousands of ecstasy pills on several darknet markets under the names Stone Island, Stone Island 1, Stone Island+ and Tony Soprano999. The South East Regional Organised Crime Unit apprehended the duo in May, 2016 after UK Border Force agents seized $100,000 of ecstasy and followed up with a controlled delivery. The trial is ongoing.
Prosecutor Robert Bryan explained that the father and son—Ralph and Kurt Lailan, respectively—had amassed “large sums of money” by selling ecstasy on darknet marketplaces. He accused the duo of importing the pills into the UK between 2013 and 2016. The intercepted packages of ecstasy worth $100,000 was not a “one-off event,” the prosecutor said. Investigators found that Ralph had spent hundreds of pounds at various Post Offices. “He’s either a prolific letter writer or he’s doing something else,” Bryan said.
The jury watched bodycam video of the raid at the Lailan’s “modest” home in Portsmouth. Officers detained Kurt Lailan in the back garden moments after he had thrown a USB drive over the garden wall. The USB drive and an iPhone 5 that belonged to one of the suspects provided the majority of the evidence needed in the case against the duo. Police investigators found pictures of ecstasy in the iPhone 5’s camera roll. The USB drive contained even more evidence. Analysts recovered evidence from the USB drive and other storage mediums that revealed the men had sold ecstasy on Agora, Nucleus, Alphabay, and Hansa. They sold under the names StoneIsland, StoneIsland1, Stone Island+ and TonySoprano999, the prosecutor said.
In late 2014, two young adults in Manchester overdosed on what the coroner believed to have been MDMA. An investigation into the MDMA led to official warnings of “new strains of MDMA” (yes, “strains”). Authorities also found that the brothers had purchased ecstasy from a vendor on the Agora marketplace named StoneIsland. After the arrest, Det. Insp. Jenny Olden said the duo had been arrested in connection with the distribution of ecstasy “super pills” and that the pills had caused multiple deaths. (Note that authorities told the public that the brothers had ingested roughly six times more ecstasy than normal. Not one former customer of StoneIsland reported buying pills dosed at 6x. The brothers more than likely just ate way too much ecstasy. Or PMA.)
Neither the deaths nor the “super pills” received a mention during the trial. Kurt’s behavior after his arrest did, though. The prosecutor said that Kurt took his spending to a new level after getting bailed out of jail. Kurt had spent thousands of pounds on luxury hotels, clothes, shoes, jewelry, and perfume. Police counted 35 pairs of shoes in one of his hotel rooms after his arrest. Police arrested Kurt again as he attempted to board at flight at Gatwick Airport. He had paid extra so that he could carry more than 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of extra luggage. He had a $15,597 Rolex watch, a $13,000 Rolex watch, $12,000 in other assorted pieces of jewelry. At the time of the arrest, Kurt had on a pair of Stone Island jeans.
The father and son’s bank accounts, combined, had almost $300,000 in unexplained deposits. Bryan said that he believed the duo had earned even more, but the court would never know because Bitcoin is “hard to trace.”
Kurt denied fraudulent evasion of prohibition and supplying ecstasy. His father’s plea was not announced.