Czech police say they have uncovered two extensive global drug markets operating on the darknet from the Czech Republic.
The Czech suspects used virtual currencies and encrypted communication when selling drugs on the darknet, where they sent out kilograms of narcotics and psychotropic substances to users across the world.
The darknet is a mostly hidden part of the internet often used by criminals. It is hosted on encrypted networks and usually accessed through tools like the Tor browser to provide users with anonymity.
The code names of the two operations, conducted by the Czech police’s National Drug Center (NPC) in cooperation with customs officers and the Czech Post Office, were Airbus and Komp.
In the first case, police arrested a group of five people aged 25 to 28, while one arrest was made in the second case, but the police did not rule out that more people will be detained.
The drug dealers face a prison sentence of eight up to 12 years.
In operation Airbus, the group purchased drugs abroad, mainly in Belgium and the Netherlands, and smuggled them into the Czech Republic through private courier companies. Part of the contraband was sold in the Czech Republic, while some of it was sold through the darknet to countries like the United States, Australia and Russia with shipments sent through the Czech Post Office.
According to authorities, two perpetrators focused primarily on brokering the darknet deals and the rest of the group concentrated on distributing drugs among end-users.
Perpetrators in operation Airbus used the pseudonym “czechairlines” and have been allegedly selling drugs since 2015. They operated in six virtual marketplaces located on the Tor network and used virtual currencies, especially Bitcoin, to make payments.
During house raids, the police confiscated about six kilograms of narcotics and psychotropic substances, mainly ecstasy tablets, MDMA, ketamine, and cocaine.
In the Komp operation, the arrested perpetrator also dealt with the distribution of drugs through the darknet where he mostly offered ecstasy, cocaine, amphetamine, MDMA, and cannabis.
According to the police, he was able to deliver his illicit products in very large quantities while maintaining high quality. He sent drugs to Australia, the U.S., the European Union countries, and Russia.
Like most users selling drugs on the darknet, he also used virtual currencies and encrypted communication to conduct his business.