On the morning of June 29, 2017, Italian police raided 27 homes throughout 27 provinces. The raids resulted in nine arrests, although only one of the suspects, as of July 1, was identified as a darknet drug vendor. This operation was part two of an investigation into the users of the former Italian Darknet Community.
The State Police of Rome and the Lecco Mobile Squad found a 19-year-old from Paterno, a province of Potenza. He had marijuana and hashish in his home. Additionally, he operated a grow operation. The teenager had eight guests, all young. They had an an unknown quantity of ”synthetic drugs.”
On April 28, law enforcement in Italy acted on what has become nearly an 18 month investigation into IDC. Police raided 45 houses and arrested several high profile individuals. One in particular stood out more than the others. A vendor from the Silk Road era that the FBI failed to catch.
The FBI gave the information they had gathered to their partner Italian agencies. With this information and their own investigation into the darknet forum/market called the Italian Darknet Community, Italian authorities closed in. The vendor from the FBI sting, Kriminale, landed in their multi-province sweep.
Marco Cadeddu, a Lecco Police department head, said “we conducted an investigation into IDC, supported by technical activities and the use of undercover agents.” The police made it seem as if they found numerous Italian darknet sites but little evidence of this exists. “We have identified sites and forums that offer […] drugs of various kinds, cocaine, heroin, hashish and synthetic drugs and weapons, forged documents, accounts of e-commerce sites payable to non-existent people or the subject of identity theft, as well as ransomware.”
Cadeddu said that he was very proud of his “small police station” for catching darknet vendors. In addition to Kriminale, Lecco police arrested another, younger, vendor known as “Skytec.” A third individual connected to IDC also fell into police custody. He was not a vendor and despite the names given to him by the media and police, the third suspect’s identity and relation to IDC remained unknown. He was a clandestine banker and reportedly used the name “Ghibli” online. Certain communities disagreed with this claim.
During the June raids, police seized synthetic drugs from the additional eight individuals before removing them from the equation. According to investigators on the scene, four were not vendors but were “addicts” of the synthetic drug. And, the other, less rewarding provinces raided were: Belluno, Biella, Bologna, Mantua, Florence, Matera, Milan, Perugia, Pesaro and Urbino, Power, Rimini, Salerno, Siena, Sondrio, Trieste, Udine, Venice and Verona.
“This additional step [in the IDC investigation] highlights and confirms the spread of the phenomenon of drugs online sales, particularly on the darknet,” Cadeddu closed. The investigation is still ongoing although we will likely be unaware until a few dozen raids occur on an early morning in Italy.