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11.04.18 Darknet and Cybercrime Roundup

Model ‘Periodically’ Used Ketamine Prior to Alleged Kidnapping

Chloe Ayling was the world to think a group of men kidnapped her to auction her off through a human trafficking group on the darknet. But over time, her story grew less and less believable. At the recent hearing for one of the men she claimed had kidnapped her, another piece of her story crumbled under the weight of a testimony given by the medical examiner.

Ayling said that men had kidnapped her by drugging her with ketamine and then stuffing her in the trunk of a car. The ketamine part of her story initially sounded true; after her so-called “escape,” a medical examiner confirmed that Ayling had ketamine in her system. However, it was not until the trial of one if the ‘kidnappers’ that we learned the medical examiner had not found ketamine in her urine. He found it centimeters into her hair—a place it could only have been if Ayling had used for a month or longer before the event occurred.

Group of Silk Road Dealers Sentenced to Prison

Five University of Manchester students are headed to prison for conspiring to sell more than one million dollars worth of drugs on the Silk Road marketplace. The group members received, in total, 56 years in prison. Many have pointed out that the sentences, especially for some of the group members with little involvement, are unrealistically long when compared to other darknet drug vendor sentences.

The FBI identified the group prior to shutting down the Silk Road. They shared their intel with the NCA. On the day the FBI pulled the plug on the Silk Road, the NCA raided the apartments of Basil Assaf and his James Roden. Those two led the group and received prison sentences of 15 years and 12 years, respectively. Jaikishen Patel, Elliot Hyams, and Joshua Morgan worked for the leaders in varying capacities. Some shipped packages and others prepared packages for shipment. Patel and Hyams will spend 11 years in prison and Morgan will spend seven years in prison.

Swedish Darknet Vendor Appeals Prison Sentence

Seven individuals, after Operation Onymous ended the Swedish darknet forum/market called “Flugsvamp,” landed in police custody for operating one of the most prolific vendor accounts on the site. The vendor, “Lågprishandeln,” sold a significant quantity of drugs to buyers instead the country. The police caught and charged all seven of the conspirators who had a role in Lågprishandeln’s success. The dealers and associates went to prison for drug trafficking and money laundering.

One of those seven individuals believes he has a chance at successfully appealing his sentence and getting a much less harsh alternative. He wants to go to rehab. He claimed that he had intended to use the hundreds of grams of MDMA the police found in his house. Not sell them. He made the same argument for the various prescription drugs and psychedelics the police also found. He has argued that he suffered from drug addiction and should not have been charged with drug trafficking. He hopes to get a shorter sentence that he can spend in rehab.

Three Drug Buyers Arrested in Austrian Investigation

As many as 50 drug buyers have landed in a police investigation after the police caught an alleged darknet drug reseller and his accomplices. Throughout July 2017, Customs Officials of the Frankfurt Customs Office in Germany intercepted packages of amphetamines addressed to a 28-year-old man in the Rohrbach district of Austria. The packages kept coming and German authorities kept relaying information to their Austrian counterparts.

Eventually, Austrian police arrested the 28-year-old. The authorities flipped the alleged reseller in March 2018 and caught two people directly connected to the man’s drug distribution operation. With evidence seized at the accomplices houses, Austrian police identified 50 people who had allegedly bought amphetamine from the three primary suspects. All 50, the police said, are under investigation.

Darknet Bust Leads to Portugal’s First Bitcoin Seizure

In Portugal, a judge sentenced a husband and wife to seven years and five years in prison, respectively. They sold drugs on the darknet, evidence collected by the Judicial Police revealed. The arrests, not unlike almost all of the arrests covered by DeepDotWeb, were the result of a ‘return to sender’ investigation conducted by local authorities. After seizing their computers, the Judicial Police revealed they had made the country’s first bitcoin seizure.

The couple had shipped LSD and other drugs disguised in packages of coffee and tea that seemed legitimate. They had even used the return address of a store that specialized in coffee and tea. Unfortunately for the couple, they frequently shipped packages that lacked the proper postage. Even though the packages contained products the store likely found familiar, employees doubted their company had also shipped drugs hidden inside those packages.

Police conducted an investigation that targeted individuals in close proximity to the store and eventually found a duo who had recently moved to Portugal without employment. Investigators collected evidence that led to a search of their home and the drug lab that found inside the home. The husband confessed in court. The wife did not. Both were found guilty and sentenced to prison.

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