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COPFS

Edinburgh man sentenced for online drug dealing and hacking

An Edinburgh computer hacker and ‘dark web’ drug dealer was yesterday sentenced to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £17,000 compensation at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. The court heard that 26 year old David Trail set up and administered the Topix2 website, an online black market site, which was used to buy and sell controlled drugs from his home in the Fountain Park area of the capital

In addition he had hacked into the computer system of his former employer and accessed information and credit card details of a number of their customers.

His crimes came to light after the FBI passed information to German police relating to a variety of concealed servers not easily accessible to normal users, which were linked to online drug marketplaces.

The Narcotics Squad of Police in Hesse, Germany, linked the Topix2 site to an individual in Scotland and contacted Police Scotland who, after further investigation, obtained a warrant for the property in Edinburgh.

During the search on 6 November 2014, a quantity of diazepam was recovered along with evidence that Trail had been selling drugs to customers throughout Europe.

The computer he used was described as being very sophisticated with operating systems that would require an advanced level of skill to use. The keyboard was blank and had been customized by Trail in an attempt to prevent access to the evidence his computer contained.

Sentencing him Sheriff Crowe ordered that he carry out 200 hours on unpaid work and pay £17,000 in compensation

Speaking following the sentencing, Andrew Richardson, Procurator Fiscal for Edinburgh, and COPFS Cybercrime Lead, said:

“David Trail thought that using his extensive technical expertise he could carry out illegal activities and avoid detection, he was wrong.

Criminals such as this should be aware that law enforcement agencies here in Scotland and throughout the world have state of the art forensic systems analysis at their disposal to identify and trace those seeking to stay below the radar when using the “dark web” for criminality.

In addition to the vast technical resources available, by sharing information across continents enables the capture and prosecution of individuals wherever they may commit their crimes”