Two Austrians Busted for Selling Drugs from the Darknet
Following an extensive investigation, Austrian authorities arrested a 24-year-old and a 25-year-old for months of darknet drug purchases and redistribution throughout Austria. An announcement from the National Police Directorate revealed that law enforcement had known about the duo for months before making arrests, marking yet another recent case where Austrian law enforcement waited months before making an arrest.
The investigation began in Bruck-Mürzzuschlag District of Styria, Austria. The partners—or colleagues, according to local news coverage—lived in an apartment in Bruck-Mürzzuschlag. However, unlike many recent dealers who landed in police custody after shipping to their own home, the 24-year-old and 25-year-old shipped to four and six different drops in the city of Bruck an der Mur. They made them themselves difficult to immediately profile by cycling between six different names at the drops. But investigators eventually caught on.
Between July 2017 and January 2018, the duo purchased hundreds of grams of cocaine, hundreds of grams of heroin, hundreds of grams of mephedrone, and almost one thousand ecstacy pills. Authorities said the drugs were worth tens of thousands of Euros when sold at street value. The investigation revealed that the men had been successfully selling at a street level for six months. Given that authorities had known about the dealers for a period of time they felt deserving a mention, it isn’t exactly clear how long they sold before the police caught on. Even though evidence from the months of investigation provided sufficient for search and subsequent arrest warrants, the duo’s apartment added another layer of likely necessary incrimination.
Police inspector Heimo Kolb explained that the apartment contained both drugs and items associated with drug distribution (nine times out of ten “items associated with drug distribution” means scales or packaging material). After the police raid at the Bruck-Mürzzuschlag apartment, the authorities on the scene hauled both suspects off to Justice Center Leoben, a detention center in Styria, Austria. Both suspects have remained in the detention center since the day of the raid. Meanwhile, on the outside, Austrian authorities have continued to investigate the case. They are going over the details with precision in hopes of finding evidence that points investigators in the direction of more evidence or more alleged criminals.
This came at a time when the number of Austrian darknet arrests reached a record level. Federal press releases credit the existence of a “central investigative and service center [for] drug trafficking via the mail and the Darknet.” Others, voice the concern they have for their ability to combat darknet drug trafficking. Daniel Lichtenegger of Austria’s Federal Criminal Police Office (.BK), less than a week after a darknet bust, said that the “police are currently facing a major challenge in combating drug trafficking by mailing drugs and [through the] Darknet.”