Saturday 3 December 2016

Suspected online international drugs ring smashed by gardai

Published 06/11/2014 | 14:14

A suspected online drug trafficking distribution racket using the encrypted network Darknet has been smashed by detectives.

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An international probe lead to the arrest of two suspects in Dublin and the seizure of almost €200,000 worth of drugs.

Computers and documents relating to off shore bank accounts in Switzerland, Belize and Poland were also uncovered.

A global investigation into the sale and supply of drugs on an encrypted layer of the internet known as the Darknet identified an Irish vendor in recent weeks.

The FBI, Interpol and European Police Forces were involved in the operation.

Following surveillance, officers from the National Drug Unit, the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) and the Computer Crime Investigation Unit (CCIU) yesterday raided a premises in Dublin 8 and arrested two suspects.

“A follow up search in Harolds Cross, Dublin 6 resulted in further small seizure of controlled drugs and documentation in relation to off shore bank accounts in Switzerland, Belize, Poland and a number of other countries,” said a Garda spokesman.

“The financial investigation in relation to this investigation is continuing with new information still coming to light at this time.”

A number of computers were removed from the scene and information immediately retrieved.

“At this time analysis is continuing with regard to storage of electro currency (Bitcoin) and CAB have already seized certain currency assets,” a spokesman added.

Gardai said a critical part of the operation was the preservation of data on encrypted computers which related to the worldwide distribution of controlled drugs from this premises in Dublin 8.

The men arrested at the scene are being detained at Kevin Street and Kilmainham Garda stations.

Gardai said an international day of action to disrupt global activity on the Darknet and remove certain websites and forums is to conclude within the next 24 hours under the FBI/Europol operation codenamed Onymous.

“The fact that such a significant vendor has been arrested in the presence of an encrypted but open computer with address lists for customers all over the world will be of significant interest to many global law enforcement agencies who specialise in Darknet investigations,” gardai added.

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