New South Wales

The defense lawyer for a dark web dealer who sold drugs from Callala beach, New South Wales has pleaded with a Judge to deliver a reduced sentence after selling $17 million worth of drugs on dark web markets, because he was “desensitised” by video games.

The defendant, Cody Ward pleaded guilty in 2020 to importing large quantities of drugs and selling them on the dark net. Cody used the post to ship drugs to his clients all over the world.

On February 2019, Cody was arrested at his Callala Beach home on the New South Wales south coast. He was detained, along with his sisters, Shanese and Patricia Koullias, who were then aged 24 and 20.

During the sentencing hearing in Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court on Friday, the dark web dealers lawyer Kieran Ginges, described Cody as a “model prisoner” and said he committed crimes because he was “seeking acceptance” and he was “plagued” by social anxiety throughout his life.

“This did not involve bikie gangs or weapons or corruption,” defense lawyer, Kieran Ginges said.

This is one man who played Grand Theft Auto while being isolated in the school yard.

The world of a young man who had no real concept of what he was doing … he was desensitised … he didn’t really appreciate the affects that these drugs could have on people.

Kieran Ginges, defense lawyer

The defense lawyer said that his client was not a “drug lord” and urged the judge to consider his age and “lack of criminality”.

Cody Ward Dark Web dealer

it wasn’t that sophisticated,

He bought some fake IDs and PO Box … [he used] tools of trade which, for him, were very simplistic.

He wasn’t doing it to make money, it was a by-product.

Kieran Ginges, defense lawyer

When Cody Ward was arrested he owned a $70,000 second hand Mercedes Benz, a $7,000 Maserati and a $15,000 Mitsubishi Evo. This is all he owned even though he was a dark web dealer.

Kieran Ginges urged Judge Tupman to consider his client’s good prospects of rehabilitation and claimed that his client has been sober throughout his time in prison.

According to Mr Ginges, “He’s off the drugs he was taking while he was offending and he has really continued on that path of redemption,”.

“He’s attending church, meditating, he’s doing things whereby he’s gaining an insight into his greater frailties.

“I would urge your honour give him the greatest appropriate leniency in all of the circumstances.”

The prosecutor asked Judge Tupman not to be lenient with Cody because he was a dark web dealer.

According to the prosecutor, “In terms of the motivation for offending, perhaps his social isolation was an entry point but profit was the primary motivation for continuing the offending,”.

“He had the wherewithal to continue the sophisticated operation.

“And [he had] the clarity of thought to maintain his rating and reputation as an online seller of drugs to remain a preferred source.”

Sentence for dark web dealer

Dark web dealer Cody Ward is due to be sentenced in Downing Centre District Court on the 23rd of April 2021.

Co defendant Shanese Koullias was previously sentenced earlier in February to eight years in prison with a four-year non parole period.