The issue of drug trafficking on the dark web seems to be cementing its place in society now. In this modern era, people are familiar and comfortable doing stuff on the dark web, because of its anonymity.
The dark web has taken over the illegal drug trade, pouring in an excess of over $100 million in sales annually as well as developing new tactics every day in eluding government capture.
However, many busts have been made in an attempt to bring this situation under control with the latest one being a 26-year-old man who is accused of trafficking drugs on the dark web using a supplements business he runs as a decoy.
Paul Schembri, the accused, a native of Parkdale is alleged to have used fake identification and paperwork to open many bank accounts, credit cards, and post office boxes under names to peddle drugs. This scheme has been described as a “sophisticated and devious” operation.
Reports suggest that he had two storage units in Mordialloc and Cheltenham of which he stored his wide range of drugs including ecstasy, cocaine, GHB, ice and prescription medication. He had transformed the storage facilities into some kind of small-scale distribution center for the drugs he ordered via the dark web.
These drugs have been the cause of many deaths across the world in the past few years as many people are overdosing on them.
Mr. Schembri’s arrest came on the 11th of October in the Southland shopping center parking lot by investigators and has since refused to cooperate.
He is now facing 21 charges, which includes multiple counts of trafficking a commercial quantity of drugs and making and using false documents.
When his storage units were raided by police, they alleged to have found two fake driver’s licenses with Mr. Schembri’s image on them but under two different names, Jack Clark and Edward Barnes.
However, those items weren’t the only ones bearing fake names as bank accounts, post office boxes and credit cards uncovered also had fake names.
He also had parcels which were sent from overseas containing illegal drugs waiting to be collected at the suburban Post office boxes, according to the police.
During the court hearing on Wednesday, Thomas Schmidt, a Senior Constable from Caulfield’s Divisional Response Unit, stated in the Melbourne Magistrates’ court that the accused was likely to get some additional charges as there were still ongoing investigations.
“It’s believed these digital devices will expose further evidence of drug trafficking,” he stated, at the hearing of which Mr. Schembri was making a bail appeal.
This appeal was however opposed by Senior Constable Schmidt stating that the charges the accused is facing were very serious charges and his capability to access false documents made him a flight risk and therefore shouldn’t be released back into the community.
Peter Mealy, the Magistrate denied the bail and afterward asked curiously: “Why does someone need so many identities?”
“A red herring has been raised about the source of the drugs. He’s declined to give passwords — one has to wonder why.
“He has a number of bank accounts, multiple post office boxes. It all goes to paint a picture of a sophisticated and devious methodology.”
Blake Sey, a friend of Mr. Schembri who offered $50,000 of his savings as a guarantee was also questioned by Mr. Mealy about what he thought his friend did for a living of which he told the court that, Mr. Schembri, who he had known since high school, ran an online supplements business, selling multivitamins, and immune and memory boosters.
He continued that, he was very surprised by the allegations which were leveled against his friend.
The magistrate then stated that, although the amount seems like a lot of money to Mr. Sey, it was, however “small bickies” to the court.
Jade Brown, 27, Mr. Schembri’s fiancé of which the Mordialloc storage facility was rented under her name, also appeared in court to support him.
She also was questioned about his fiancé’s dark web drug operation but was released without any charge.
The accused is set to return to court on the 8th of January.