Two friends who met at university have been jailed for a conspiracy to import and mix potent drugs then sell them for vast profits through an illegal 'online supermarket' on the dark web.
Ross Brennan, 29, of York, was jailed for 13 years and eight months while Aarron Gledhill, 27, of Huddersfield was sentenced to three years and nine months by Judge Andrew Stubbs at York Crown Court.
Brennan made hundreds of thousands of pounds with his friend and computer programmer Gledhill, 27 as they conspired to import and distribute fentanyl - which is up to 100 times stronger than heroin - crystal meth and cocaine from around the world.
Dozens of deaths in the UK this year have been linked to the opiate fentanyl, an opioid that is mixed with street heroin to make it more potent.
Brennan, who is autistic, made up to £1,000 a day through his 'online supermarket' on the dark web. Buyers could leave product reviews on the site and he used encryption software to hide transactions with his 4,000 customers.
He received bitcoins worth a total of between £275,000 and £1.5million (depending on fluctuations in the currency's value). The average value during their offending period was around £420,000, which they spent lavishly.
Both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import and supply class-A drugs and money laundering.
The court heard that Brennan played a 'leading role' in importing fentanyl and other drugs into the UK.
Gledhill’s role was predominantly to receive incoming packages at his home in Huddersfield.
The offences took place between November 2013 and September 2016.
Detectives believe the case is 'the first of its kind in the UK' owing to the sophisticated use of technology to support an international drugs supply chain.