An Adelaide Hills man has been arrested for dark web drug trafficking and money laundering involving cryptocurrency.
The 25-year-old was allegedly operating several different vendor profiles on an online dark web market place in which he sold a variety of illicit drugs, including a quantity of opioids commonly referred to as ‘nitazenes’.
The vendor allegedly sourced packaging equipment and illicit drugs in bulk quantities and offered them for sale on the dark web. Customers would place an order and make payment in cryptocurrency. The vendor would then attend a storage unit to prepare the orders for distribution.
Police say the vendor amassed significant wealth over a period of time and laundered some of the money.
In early 2023, Cybercrime Investigation Section commenced Operation Reveal, targeting the activity of an online dark web vendor trafficking in illicit drugs.
The investigation identified illicit activity on a dark web market place; attributed an online alias to a real-life person; identified and traced cryptocurrency used in the offending and led to a successful search and seizure operation between 20 and 22 September.
Police allegedly seized a large quantity of illicit drugs, cash, cryptocurrency, electronic devices and other evidence used in conjunction with the offending and a quantity of property believed to be proceeds of crime and evidence of money laundering.
On Wednesday, September 20 police arrested a 25-year-old man and charged him with 19 counts of trafficking in a controlled drug, five counts of trafficking in a commercial quantity of a controlled drug, money laundering and possess prescribed equipment.
He appeared in court, where he was remanded in custody and will reappear at a later date.
Officer in charge of Financial and Cybercrime Investigation Branch, Detective Superintendent Adam Rice said using the dark web environment to perform illegal activity is not beyond the reach and capability of law enforcement.
“You are not anonymous on the dark web. Police are investigating online platforms and will continue to bring people before the courts for criminal offending in these environments,”Detective Superintendent Adam Rice said.