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Three Austrians Charged for Darknet Distribution

In late 2017, the Salzburg National Police Directorate (LPD) raided the home of a suspected darknet drug dealer. The suspect is a 26-year-old from the Pongau district of Salzburg, Austria. Authorities accused him of buying drugs on the darknet to use and to resell. The investigation, they revealed, found that the suspected vendor had used the darknet to sell drugs to a total of 22 customers. In late March 2018, Austrian officials revealed they had arrested two suspected accomplices who had also used and distributed drugs purchased on the darknet.

After the 2017 arrest, the police announced that they had identified two suspected co-conspirators who had different degrees of involvement. At the time, two suspects were 25-years-old and one suspect was 34-years-old. Following the arrest of the primary suspect, the police arrested the second 25-year-old on a provisional arrest warrant. They later released him and pressed no formal charges until March 2018—one year from the date the trio had allegedly started buying and selling drugs on the darknet.

From March 2017 to August 2017, according to the investigators who picked apart the lives of the suspects, all three men participated in a drug trafficking operation worth at least 100,000 euros. The 100,000-euro estimate given by police only accounted for the drug transactions the investigators could allegedly prove. The figure also counted the estimated value of the drugs found at the suspect’s house when the police executed a search warrant in 2017.

During the search, the police reportedly discovered 65 grams of methamphetamine, 145 grams of MDMA, 1,000 or more ecstasy pills, 100 grams of amphetamine, and seven grams of heroin. The police also found equipment used in drug trafficking operations such as scales and plastic bags. Investigators said they found evidence that proved the men had purchased the drugs on the darknet. Evidence also indicated that the men purchased counterfeit euros. The police never recovered any euros.

The men told investigators they had purchased the drugs for personal use. That element of the case has not been disputed by the police. However, investigators found evidence that the men sold drugs to at least 22 customers on the darknet. They allegedly sold hundreds of grams of methamphetamine, heroin, and amphetamine. They also sold hundreds of ecstasy pills and a variety of cannabis products.

All three suspects allegedly handled orders on the darknet and split many of the tasks. The primary suspect sold only on the darknet. The 25-year-old co-defendant and 34-year-old co-defendant helped the primary defendant sell drugs on the darknet and sold drugs to people in person as well. All three used drugs and primarily bought and sold drugs they used.

Austrian law enforcement has charged all three suspects for drug distribution. They are being held at the Puch-Urstein Prison while investigators attempt to identify some of the 22 customers connected to the suspects.

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