British Authorities Take Down Dark Web Ecstasy Gang, Seize $5.8M in Drugs
The string of dark web gangs being cracked down by law enforcement is still alive across the world. Recently, the British authorities dismantled an unnamed dark web band known for selling ecstasy and gathering millions of dollars worth of crypto.
Gang Sold Ecstasy, Amphetamine, and Diazepam in Several Darknet Forums
According to The Independent, the National Crime Agency (NCA) deployed an operation that targeted several houses in North East England, specifically in the metropolitan borough of South Tyneside.
Authorities were concerned and raised red flags last year after intercepting large shipments of ecstasy. All parcels had as final destinations like the United States, Israel, Norway, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and even the UK, said the NCA.
Also, law enforcement traced encrypted messages exchanged between suspects, who allegedly talked about illegal transactions with drugs and money laundering via cryptocurrency trading.
The NCA seized 90 kg of ecstasy, 134 kg of amphetamine, and over 6,000 Diazepam tablets. Per the authorities, all the products have a value in the dark market of around 4.3 million pounds ($5.9 million).
Findings suggest that the gang didn’t have a website for selling the drugs. Instead, they relied on undisclosed dark web forums and used usernames such as HundredsUK, Hundredsandthousands, Sundaefundae, and 100and1000s.
US Authorities Assisted in the Operation
Moreover, investigators found that drugs were imported from the Netherlands. As a result of the operation, British police arrested two men aged 24 and 31 in South Tyneside allegedly involved in the criminal organization.
Martin Clarke, NCA operations manager, gave further details on the operation:
We have worked closely with partners in the US to target the individuals involved, who are ultimately preying on the vulnerable and destroying communities. This investigation shows that those who try to use the dark web and encrypted communication devices to anonymously commit crimes can be identified. There are two people from South Shields we are still seeking, who we believe are overseas.
Still, darknet market revenues have maintained bullish steam despite the recent efforts from officials taking down major illegal marketplaces.
As Bitcoin.com News reported in February 2021, darknet markets brought in a total of $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in 2020, setting an all-time high.
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Author: Felipe Erazo