South Australian police have arrested an individual charged with drug trafficking and money laundering involving crypto on the dark web.
The police seized cash, illicit drugs, electronic devices, and cryptocurrency worth $1.5 million belonging to the accused individual.
Drug Trafficker Supposedly Received Payment in Crypto
An investigation carried out by the South Australian police, which began earlier in 2023, led to the seizures, along with the arrest of a 25-year-old man from Adelaide Hills, whose identity was not revealed, suspected of illicit drug trafficking on the dark web.
According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the police alleged that the accused used different profiles on the dark web to market various illicit drugs. Speaking on the matter, Detective Superintendent Rice said:
“The investigation identified illicit activity on a dark web marketplace, attributed that activity to a real-life person in South Australia, identified and traced cryptocurrency used in the offending, and then ultimately led to a successful search and seizure operation.”
Superintendent Rice also said that nitazene, which he described as a “highly toxic drug,” was among the drugs seized by the police. According to the detective, nitazene, with an estimated weight of five kilograms, was Australia’s largest seizure to date.
There were previous cases of protonitazene suspected to have caused overdoses and played a role in the death of a young man. However, Superintendent Rice noted that the dark web drug dealer was not connected to the death. The accused, who is currently in custody, is set to appear in court at a later date.
More Illicit Dark Web Activities Involving Cryptocurrency
Meanwhile, there have been several instances of crypto used for criminal activities on the dark web. In July, a New Jersey resident, John Michael Musbach, paid a hitman on the dark web 40 BTC in May 2016 (worth $20,000 at the time) to kill a child who was going to testify against him in a child pornography case. Musbach was sentenced to six years and six months in prison.
Another Nevada woman, Kristy Lynn Felkins, received a five-year prison sentence for hiring a dark web hitman website called Besa Mafia to murder her ex-husband. Felkins sent the site 12 BTC (worth around $ 5,000 at the time) to carry out the operation.
A recent study by RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, revealed that judges meted out harsher punishments to Australian criminals who use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for their criminal activities compared to those who used fiat.
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