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Two Darknet Dealers Arrested in Russia

In Rostov-on-Don, a city in Southern Russia, the Customs Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs captured a drug dealer who “played a key role in an international criminal organization.” Authorities arrested the “key player” drug dealer and one accomplice. The duo, an announcement said, helped supply drugs to customers spread throughout numerous regions in Russia. Along with several unknown operatives, the duo ran an “international trade network” by importing drugs into Russia from sellers on the darknet and redistributing them through local channels.

In January 2018, Russian authorities intercepted five packages from an address in Germany that contained significant quantities of drugs. The sender of the packages had addressed them to the suspects currently in custody. Inside the packages, authorities found 8 kilograms of hashish, 5 kilograms of amphetamine, 2 kilograms of marijuana, and smaller amounts of ephedrine and ecstasy pills. The police said the drugs equalled a little over $500,000. The dealer and his accomplices traded only in bitcoin, as far as authorities know, though.

Russian authorities raided the house after intercepting the package. They arrested the recipient and his accomplice. They also seized 2 kilograms of “pre-packaged” drugs of unknown specifications. “During the interrogation, one of the suspects told us where and how the drugs were sold,” a MIA source said. The customers in Russia found the dealer through darknet sites and then used bitcoin to pay the dealer. “After that, the dealers packed the drugs in bundles and sent them to customers through bookmarks,” he added. “In total, the police found 63 caches in the Rostov region, Krasnodar and Stavropol Krai. The total mass of drugs found in the caches exceeded 10 kg.”

Authorities reportedly discovered that the dealer played a much larger role in drug trafficking after the accomplice revealed information during questioning. Any evidence the investigators had already uncovered may not have pointed towards a role in a larger criminal organization. This is far from Russia’s first darknet drug trafficking case, but many involve dealers farther away from the source. Some of the cases involved entire marketplaces, though.

The drug traffickers currently face three charges for the smuggling of narcotic drugs in large amounts. By the end of the investigation, they could be facing any number of charges. Investigators are currently working to establish the identities of other conspirators. Russian authorities spoke of closing a drug trafficking channel between Germany and Russia, but Germany’s side of that channel may still be open. Authorities did not reveal details pertaining to the ongoing information but similarly neglected to say anything about involvement with international authorities.

“The contents of mail items are inspected at various stages of shipment, including by using special equipment installed in the places of sorting and processing of parcels and small packages,” a representative of Russian Post told Kommersant.

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