Jehanzeb Amar, 29, from London and Salahydin Warsame, 29, from Birmingham, advertised and sold cocaine in kilo quantities under the brand “LetsWork,” which also sold to buyers on the dark web.
The men set up an automated bot to take the orders from the customers. The app gave their customers regular updates such as apologising for supply issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Metropolitan Police officers uncovered the lucrative drug business in February last year after raiding a van driven by Warsame, where they found heroin hidden in a remote-controlled hydraulic hidden space in the car. They then uncovered multiple packages addressed to locations in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland about to be sent via the Post Office.
A later search of a property discovered 2,000 LSD tablets, cutting agents, mobile phones, crypto wallets, laptops, a labelling printer, drugs packaging and jiffy bags associated with the supply. As a result of the investigation, £100,000 worth of cash and Bitcoin were recovered.
In October VICE World News revealed that drug dealers on Telegram were operating a “robot dealer service” using Televend, which automates the entire drug selling process from start to finish enabling dealers to run a 24/7 business while they sleep.
Amar and Warsame, were convicted at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday for conspiracy to supply class A drugs. They were given 13 and a half years and 10 and a half years respectively.
“Amar and Warsame mistakenly believed that they could act with impunity carrying out this multi-million pound drug enterprise online,” said Detective Sergeant Damian Hill, of the Met’s specialist crime south command.
“My team worked closely with the Met’s Economic Crime Team and the Cyber Crime Unit who have the capability to tackle organised crime of this type carried out over the dark web and social media apps.
“Anyone considering ordering illegal drugs online using cryptocurrencies should be aware they are not doing this anonymously and are at risk of prosecution as well as leaving themselves vulnerable to the organised criminal networks whom they have provided their names and home addresses to.”
VICE World News reached out to Telegram for comment but had received no response at time of publication.