A Piyush, India-based event manager and engineer, was arrested by officials from the Special Task Force of the Prohibition and Excise department (STFPE) and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for utilizing a dark web marketplace to purchase and distribute drugs including LSD from and to India, the Netherlands, Britain and Germany.
In an interview with local Indian publications, Excise Deputy Commissioner C. Vivekananda Reddy stated that Piyush actively engaged in the distribution of LSD after he lost his job as an engineer amidst the country’s recent financial crisis.
In November of 2016, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi officially demonetized 500 and 1,000 banknotes as a part of a larger initiative to decrease criminal activities in the country. However, the demonetization of the two banknotes led to a nationwide financial turmoil, with 90 percent of the country’s ATMs not being able to provide cash for Indian residents to cover day-to-day expenses.
Vivekananda noted that Piyush became addicted to LSD since he was a university student and ordered the drug through dark web marketplaces that operated in the Netherlands, Britain and Germany. As Piyush began to gain access to large amounts of illicit drugs and LSD, he started to distribute LSD throughout India as a supplier.
“Later he got addicted to LSD, which he used to procure it from the Netherlands, Britain and Germany through the internet. Later, he turned into a drug peddler. Piyush lost his job during demonetisation. He studied the mental state of those who consume narcotics and started procuring alternative drugs like Viagra and anti-depression drugs. By mixing such drugs and tablets, he prepares a blotting paper that is as effective as LSD,” Vivekananda said in an interview.
At first, Piyush acquired large amounts of LSD blots through marketplaces in Europe. Instead of utilizing cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Monero–an anonymous cryptocurrency used by the now-defunct dark web marketplace Alphabay–Piyush utilized his bank account the India-based ICICI bank to cover expenses for the drugs and delivery.
Piyush then experimented with the LSD blots delivered from Europe, selling them to local suppliers in India. He also tried to distribute LSD crystals across the country, ordering batches of LSD crystals from a dark web marketplace in the Netherlands, this time with bitcoin.
In a raid, officials seized 80 blots of LSD, 2,746 strips of concocted chemicals, 20 grams of marijuana and 40 grams of undisclosed powder.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Enforcement Wing of Prohibition and Excise (P&E) department was particularly focused on taking down the operation of Piyush because he was targeting young students from schools and colleges in Hyderabad. In a previous report, the SIT of P&E revealed that students as young as 13 years old were purchasing drugs from the dark web.
Since the report of the SIT was published, local authorities have begun to take necessary steps to decrease drug usage amongst young students in India. Over 50 schools and colleges were issued notices and parents were required to prevent students from buying drugs.
Local law enforcement agencies and authorities also tightened their investigations into drug trafficking and distribution after some officials including Satyendra Kumar Singh, an investigator with the Ahmedabad division of India’s Narcotics Control Bureau, were caught stealing drugs and Bitcoin from dark web drug investigations.