The Ukrainian Police has closed down an online marketplace for trading illegal narcotics online.
According to the local media reports, the anonymous darknet market was active on internet for a very long time. They were even advertising their products offline throughout the Ukraine – Kiev, Zaporizhia, Dnepr, Krivoy Rog, Kharkov, Nikolayev and other surrounding regions – via illegal street posters.
The operators had set up a robust channel of communication involving multiple platforms like Jabber, Telegram, Skype, Viber, including others. They seemingly modelled their protocol in such a way where they remain the middlemen between sellers and buyers. Once the communication was established between the two parties, they could settle their contract for Bitcoin. The online marketplace, thereupon, used to ship the substances to the given address using courier services. The platform also offered an option to make purchases without making personal contact through dead drops.
The National Police of Ukraine, overseen by the country’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, were actively monitoring the advertising patterns on internet, as well as the offline means used by the website moderators. The raid resulted in a drug bust, and the arrest of the administrators, operators and drug traffickers associated with the online drug trade.
The police obtained over 500000 Hryvnia worth of drugs and contraband including ecstasy pills, methamphetamine, smoking blends (SPICE), marijuana and other psychotropic and narcotics. The law enforcement agencies have also confiscated various office equipment, computers, and receipts. Under the Article 307 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, those arrested stand to face up to 12 years of imprisonment.
Complete details about the operation are yet to be made available by the authorities. However, this news doesn’t come as a surprise as there are numerous instances where online drug dealers have been caught under similar circumstances. The closure of dark net online marketplace Silk Road and its promoter Ross Ulbricht remains as one of the largest crackdowns on online drug trafficking until now.
Bitcoin-fueled drug trades are catching up in countries like India where the digital currency adoption caught up late. Recently Narcotics Control Bureau of India froze 500 BTC belonging to a drug syndicate and is currently exploring further options to bring them to the book.
Ref: Reporter UA | Image: NewsBTC