Tacoma man gets 4 years in federal prison for dealing drugs on dark web

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SEATTLE - A Tacoma man was sentenced to four years in federal prison Tuesday for peddling illegal drugs, including LSD and ecstasy, on the dark web.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard A. Jones handed down the sentence against Travis Phillips, 31, who was caught with more than 8,600 tabs of ecstasy, 155 hits of LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, fake ID, a semi-automatic handgun and a rifle, according to court records.

"Every time that you sold MDMA (ecstasy), that could be the start of a downward cycle for a young person," Judge Jones said during the sentencing hearing.

U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes, who supervises federal prosecutions in Western Washington, said drug dealing on the dark web is a troubling development.

"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," she said. "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, the Dutch National Police alerted U.S. authorities of a shipment of 7,000 tablets of ecstasy headed to a private mail facility in Renton in April 2017. Local police seized the drugs and left the box for the recipient.

The package had been shipped to a fake name, but on May 2, 2017, Phillips arrived to pick it up - and he had a young child in his car.

Police followed Phillips to his home and detained him. Phillips allowed investigators to search his car and home, where agents found the large quantities of illegal drugs, the handgun and rifle.

Phillips eventually pleaded guilty in May 2018. After he serves his prison term, he will be subject to three years of supervised release.

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