An in-depth report by Forbes reveals famed darknet psychedelics vendor James Verl Barlow, aka TripWithScience, was employed by the army during many of his years as a vendor. The report details how the 44-year-old vendor’s high-profile lifestyle – complete with “two Teslas, a Mercedes and a two jet skis” – was a mismatch from the day job supposedly providing from it all.
Barlow served in the army from 1994 to 2019, both in the National Guard and as an active-duty soldier. His foray into darknet market activities began as early as November 2013, shortly after the shutdown of Silk Road. For years, he lived a lavish lifestyle, purchasing fancy clothing, cars and real estate – all the while still actively employed by the U.S. military. He even ran a few esoteric businesses on the side, one of which specialized in t-shirts with LED lights sewn into the fabric.
Barlow was not shy about his flamboyant habits and was known for spending large amounts of money all around Las Vegas, the city of his residence. Despite his attempts to pursue legitimate business on the side, the Department of Justice noted that Barlow “was not generating enough, if any, income from these businesses to support his lifestyle, which included travel on private jets, world travel, purchases of high-end automobiles, and ownership of multiple properties.”
With sales on nearly all major darknet markets through April 2021, Barlow is considered to be one of the most successful and longest-running vendors of psychedelics. His primary product was a well-branded psychedelic named “Liquid Mushrooms,” which he sold in small vials for around $20 per order, plus shipping. The primary psychoactive component of the popular product was determined to be 4-Ac0-DMT, a mild-to-strong hallucinogen extracted from psychedelic mushrooms.
Barlow was charged in May with charges related to “conspiring to manufacture, distribute and dispense controlled substances using cryptocurrencies via the dark web.” He has been detained since his arrest as he awaits trial. He and his younger brother, Matthew Barlow, accused of assisting in the preparation of the dark web products, have yet to enter a plea.