February 15, 2019 13:57:41
NSW Police say they have penetrated a $17 million drug syndicate operating on the “dark web” shipping drugs, some of which were disguised as lollies, through the post.
- Police say the operation was run by a 25-year-old man with highly developed hacking skills
- The syndicate allegedly took orders over the dark web and mailed drugs all over the country
- Police spent months tracking the operation online
Officers raided several locations, including a waterfront shack at Callala Beach on the NSW south coast, from where they allege a “sophisticated” criminal operation was being run.
“This is probably the first and biggest penetration of the dark web in Australia,” NSW Police acting assistant commissioner Stuart Smith said.
They allegedly seized 2.5 kilograms of white powder, 200 grams of MDMA, 100,000 LSD tabs and a significant quantity of Xanax, some of which they say was “made up to look like candy”.
Police arrested a 25-year-old man and two women, aged 24 and 20.
They were charged with a range of drug offences.
Detectives allege the group had been taking orders online, then packaging the drugs into envelopes before taking them to the post office and mailing them across Australia.
They also allege the syndicate used cryptocurrency to process more than $17 million worth of transactions.
Acting assistant commissioner Smith said police spent months tracking the 25-year-old man at the centre of the operation through the dark web — part of the internet in which users are anonymous and where drugs are regularly traded.
“This fellow was a highly capable hacker,” he said.
“We had to move up a whole new gear to take this guy on.
“He learned his skill as a youth and is now a highly capable individual using highly-complex systems often used by government agencies.”
Acting assistant commissioner Smith said the arrests proved the recently “re-engineered” cyber crime squad was producing results.
“It’s taken a significant amount of technical skill and cyber-surveillance techniques to catch this individual and his vast network.”
“This is the purest form of cyber crime and probably our most significant arrest thus far.”
February 15, 2019 13:25:31