A 31-year-old Tacoma, Washington man was sentenced today to four years in prison and three years of supervised release for his scheme to distribute MDMA and LSD on the dark web, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. TRAVIS PHILLIPS, was identified in April 2017, as a drug vendor on the dark web. At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones noted that PHILLIPS was caught with more than 8600 tabs of MDMA, as well as guns. “Every time that you sold MDMA, that could be the start of a downward cycle for a young person,” Judge Jones said. “When you have firearms and drugs the reason is you are fearful someone will come after you.”
“Drug dealing on the dark web is the new drug dealing frontier,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “Those too frightened to make a face-to-face purchase may feel emboldened to purchase via the web, expanding the circle of those who fall prey to the scourge of drug addiction. Dark web drug dealers should know they are not safe – they will be found and held to account just like anyone else peddling dangerous drugs in our communities.”
According to records filed in the case, in April 2017, the Dutch National Police alerted U.S. authorities of a shipment of 7000 tablets of MDMA headed to a private mail facility in Renton. Law enforcement seized the drugs and left the box for the recipient. The package had been shipped to a fake name. On May 2, 2017, PHILLIPS arrived to pick up the package –he had a young child in his car. Law enforcement followed PHILLIPS to his home and ultimately detained PHILLIPS. PHILLIPS allowed law enforcement to search his car and home. Agents seized MDMA powder, 155 hits of LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, fake ID and a semi-automatic handgun and rifle. PHILLIPS had also been investigated for internet drug dealing in 2016 in California.
PHILLIPS pleaded guilty in May 2018.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Woods and Special Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Silvio. Mr. Silvio is an attorney with Homeland Security Investigations specially designated to prosecute international trafficking cases in federal court.