Dark web drug lord unmasked: Bullied ‘real-life loser’ masterminded $17million drug business from behind his gaming computer screen – while enjoying a lavish life and luxury cars
- A ‘real life loser’ who was bullied in school turned to selling drugs online
- He said it made him feel like he had a sense of community and friendship
- Cody Ward used to role play being a drug dealer in video games as a teenager
A ‘real life loser’ who was bullied in school turned to selling drugs online to feel a sense of community and belonging, a court has heard.
Cody Ronald Ward, 26, pleaded guilty in Sydney District Court to importing and supplying commercial quantities of prohibited drugs.
He admitted to six offences for importing or supplying large commercial quantities of drugs, each of which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The court heard Ward operated a drug business on the dark web from his Callala Bay home on the New South Wales south coast over the course of four years.
He is the mastermind behind the $17million drug syndicate, which specialised in LSD, ecstasy, MDMA and amphetamines.
Cody Ronald Ward, 26, (pictured) pleaded guilty in Sydney District Court to importing and supplying commercial quantities of prohibited drugs
He operated under the pseudonym NSWGreat, and even gave an anonymous interview to a news outlet describing his drug syndicate, PerthNow reported.
Ward was arrested in February 2019 and police alleged they found MDMA, 2.5kg of cocaine, amphetamines, pills, Xanax and about 100,000 LSD tabs in his possession.
The court heard he also had $80,000 in cash, laptops and money counters in his home.
Photos later surfaced of him posing with luxury cars, including a Maserati and Mercedes Benz.
On Thursday, Ward told the court he suffered ‘severe’ bullying throughout high school, was obese and struggled to make friends.
The court heard he also had $80,000 in cash, laptops and money counters in his home. Photos later surfaced of him posing with luxury cars
He described himself as a ‘real life loser’ when recalling his teenage years via video-link from prison,
‘In real life, I was a loser… nobody cared to talk to me… everybody looked down on me,’ he said.
‘Online everyone looked up to me… everyone would talk to me.’
Ward created several alter egos while gaming online and became fascinated with cryptocurrency from a young age before trying his hand at the drug market.
He admitted he ordered drug samples from across the world and stumbled into the industry, before finding himself ‘deeply involved’.
Ward (pictured) created several alter egos while gaming online and became fascinated with cryptocurrency from a young age before trying his hand at the drug market
But within the drug world, Ward found a sense of ‘community, purpose, social acceptance and friends,’ he told the court.
While in custody, Ward has been diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder.
He explained that he didn’t take the alleged drug syndicate very seriously because he ‘used to role play as a drug trafficker’ while playing video games as a teenager.
‘I used to get very involved in role play games where you would get deeply involved into a character like you would as an actor,’ he told the court.
The IT whizkid regularly boasted about his lavish lifestyle online, including driving luxury cars such as a Maserati (left) and Mercedes Benz (right)
‘It (the offending) felt very similar but instead of being rich in a game, you earn money in real life.’
He has since realised the severity of the charges, and ‘fully expects’ to spend much of his life behind bars.
Ward also admitted he was ‘significantly addicted to heroin’ at the time of his arrest, which was supported by a report from forensic psychiatrist Dr Stephen Allnutt.
‘I was completely drug f***ed,’ Ward said.
Ward’s sentence hearing will resume on February 12, 2021.