Bothell, Washington, man sentenced to 5 years in prison for dealing drugs hidden in computer hard drives

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Seattle – A 34-year-old Bothell, Washington, man was sentenced today to five years in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. Ryan Kane pled guilty to Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute on March 22, 2022. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge James L. Robart said, addressing Kane, “This isn’t about you…. This is about what you did to the community …sending drugs not just into our community, but the world.  What you did is decidedly wrong.”

“Mr. Kane was distributing nearly pure and addictive methamphetamine across the world, concealed in computer hard drives,” said U.S. Attorney Brown.  “He used the Dark Web to conceal his identity and make dangerous drugs available as far away as Australia and New Zealand.”

Kane first came to the attention of law enforcement because he was mailing packages with methamphetamine hidden inside. Kane used a Dark Web vendor account to take orders for the methamphetamine shipments; he then packaged the drugs and mailed them through the U.S. Postal Service to various locations in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. In April of 2021, he attempted to mail two packages to Australia. However, these packages were intercepted by law enforcement and found to contain over three kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride concealed in computer hard drives.

In asking for a six-year sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Casey Conzatti said, “This recommendation takes into account Mr. Kane’s struggle with addiction, but it also takes into account the large volume of drugs involved.”

When Kane’s residence was searched on June 7, 2021, law enforcement seized a glass jar and 16 additional hollowed out computer hard drives containing over three kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride. Agents found packing materials, a notebook containing shipping labels to Australia and artwork related to Kane’s Dark Web vendor account. Additionally, agents discovered a loaded 9mm handgun on the couch in the apartment.

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“Mr. Kane’s conviction and today’s sentence demonstrates how smugglers cannot hide behind the perceived veil of secrecy associated with Dark Web marketplaces,” said Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Robert Hammer, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in the Pacific Northwest. “HSI through its transnational law enforcement footprint will doggedly pursue these cases with our law enforcement partners within the U.S. and abroad.”

“With Mr. Kane’s sentencing today, we show a clear and united front, not only here in the United States but abroad, in the effort to combat the distribution of these dangerous and potentially lethal narcotics,” said Inspector in Charge Anthony Galetti with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (U.S.P.I.S.). “We remain steadfast in our mission to remove illegal narcotics from the U.S. Mail and will continue to do so to ensure our communities remain safe. We thank our law enforcement partners for their assistance in bringing Kane to justice.”   

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (U.S.P.I.S.) and the Australian Border Force (ABF).

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Casey S. Conzatti.