Sophisticated ‘dark web’ drug supply syndicate dismantled – Cybercrime Squad

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Cybercrime Squad detectives have charged two men and dismantled a criminal syndicate allegedly involved in large-scale prohibited drug supply over the ‘dark web’.

Last year, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad established Strike Force Glene to investigate the supply of prohibited drugs across NSW using dark net marketplaces.

Investigators subsequently identified a marketplace facilitating the supply of prohibited drugs, as well as the illicit supply of prescribed restricted substances, in exchange for cryptocurrencies.

Following extensive inquiries, Strike Force Glene detectives, assisted by the Public Order and Riot Squad and ODIN, executed two search warrants at homes at Chatswood and Rose Bay from 8am yesterday (Tuesday 17 May 2022).

During the searches, police seized more than 100g of cocaine and MDMA, 3kg of powders, suspected to be prohibited drugs; thousands of unknown tablets and about 17kg of confectionery, suspected to be laced with THC.

Investigators also seized almost $60,000 cash, mobile phones, computers, electronic storage devices, cryptocurrency and an engagement ring with an estimated value of $100,000, suspected to be proceeds of crime.

All of the seized items will undergo further forensic examination.

A 33-year-old man was arrested at the Chatswood address and a 39-year-old man was arrested at the Rose Bay home. Both men were taken to Surry Hills Police Station.

A short time later, police executed a crime scene warrant at a business in Rose Bay.

Both men were charged with supply prohibited drug, participate criminal group contribute criminal activity, supply prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis, and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.

Police will allege in court that the men were involved in more than 30,000 individual drug transactions being conducted since 2015, with at least $1.16 million in cryptocurrency being received over a 12-month period.

They were refused bail to appear at Central Local Court today (Wednesday 18 May 2022).

Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Matthew Craft, said both men were allegedly helming a well-equipped drug supply network which was based entirely on the dark net.

“In terms of scale, this operation sits as one of the more sophisticated we’ve seen with respect to both the quantity of illicit drugs being traded, right through to distribution and packaging,” Det Supt Craft said.

“We will be alleging the profits both these men were reaping as a result of these illicit trades were so vast, attempts were made to launder funds in cryptocurrency and cash using third parties.

“Those involved with this operation believed the dark web provided with them a cloak of invisibility and anonymity to conduct their illicit sales; their court appearance today says otherwise,” Det Supt Craft said.

Anyone with information in relation to criminal activity and the dark web is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

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