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14.11.17 Dark Web and Cybercrime Roundup

Operation CROZET Nets Two International Drug Traffickers

A nine-month investigation into two international drug dealers by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Border Force (ABF) reached a tipping point this month, according to a press release from the AFP. A 27-year-old Merna man his 26-year-old partner from Kew had allegedly imported hundreds of kilograms of various drugs into the Melbourne area.

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According to the AFP’s press release, the ABF had stopped almost 16 kilograms of MDMA from entering the Australian mail stream. The dealers had enough of an impact on Australia’s drug market that the AFP’s named the investigation in their honor. Not every drug dealer gets caught in a “named operation.”

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When law enforcement officers finally found the two men behind the large-scale drug importation, the AFP made their move. They raided three properties owned by the suspected drug traffickers. Australian police, during the house raids, seized a Lamborghini Gallardo; cash; drug trafficking paraphernalia; a single kilogram of meth, ketamine, and marijuana; several testosterone vials; 700 grams of cocaine; a whopping 10 kilograms of MDMA; and 16 liters of 1,4 butanediol (BD). DeepDotWeb

Finnish Police Quietly Seize a Darknet Imageboard

Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation and Customs recently seized a Finnish hidden service that was not Valhalla. The Finnish authorities brought down an illegal imageboard called Sipulikanava or the “Onion Channel” in English. For those unaware of what an imageboard is: think of 4chan. Sipulikanava functioned like any other imageboard/forum. As with the now defunct Deutschland im Deep Web forum, Sipulikanava’s darknet presence brought trouble for members who had no intentions of using the site illegally.

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Although the site’s owner had created Sipulikanava in 2014, the police investigation into the imageboard only lasted between October 9 and October 29. The arrests—dozens of them—had taken place between mid-October until early November. Although some users had uploaded illegal child abuse content, Finnish law enforcement wanted the site’s users for various drug crimes. One incident, in particular, had especially angered the police.

In early 2017, site users had arranged an amphetamine deal that ended poorly. It ended in armed robbery that required police intervention. From that point onwards, the police voiced their concerns about Sipulikanava. Customs said that darknet activities from the site had “brutally” impacted real world events. On November 1, Finnish law enforcement agencies replaced the site’s content with a “this site has been seized” landing page. DeepDotWeb

TradeRoute Dirty Laundry

Former TradeRoute moderator Sam Culper made a surprise appearance on Reddit this week. In previous darknet exit scams, mods—who generally knew nothing of the exit scam—stuck around for a single “goodbye” post before logging out of the marketplace’s Reddit mod account. Culper, too, had stopped using his official Reddit account aptly named /r/SamCulperTR. That changed with a recent Reddit post. He logged in and told the readers of the darknet market subreddit that he was hurt by the TradeRoute admin’s decision to exit scam.

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He explained that he had never performed the duties of an admin and had always been a moderator. “I enjoyed helping [customers] with their support tickets,” he said. Culper wrote that he had been hired two months before the exit scam actually happened. “I assume most of you understand that the actual admins are not gonna tell some support guy that they are about to exit scam,” Culper began. He explained that the market staff had hired him and then promoted him three times before the exit scam. He went from making $8,000 per month to making $8,000 per week to making $14,000 per week.

Culper wrote:

Each Friday I would get 14k. As soon as this stopped it was a clear sign that they would not return. I believe the MAIN admins set me up. They promoted me 3 times within 1 month which is why they started giving me 14k a month. Making it look like I was one of the real admins.”

He closed by claiming he had no ties to the former admins and he was just like any other subreddit user. Historically, mods have had no involvement in exist scams. History is on Culper’s side. Reddit

Bitcoin Money Laundering Lands Six in Court

In a Netherlands court, six men—allegedly in mysteriously unrelated cases—face up to three years in prison laundering several hundred thousand dollars in Bitcoin. The prosecution knew the money had originated from previous drug trafficking ventures. None of the men had given halfway passable excuses for how they had come across the money. However, because the prosecution hear not gathered evidence on any drug trafficking crimes, the men only face drug possession and money laundering charges. DeepDotWeb

California Dealer Caught with 10K Alprazolam Pills

A drug task force in Ventura County, California, completed a two-month investigation into Ventura county man suspected of trafficking alprazolam and MDMA. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit teamed up with another department’s Narcotics Unit to build the case against the Los Angeles and Ventura County drug dealer named Ryan Tallmadge.

Detectives pulled Tallmadge over at a traffic stop and searched his car. They found 15 grams of MDMA and almost 2,000 alprazolam pills. The detectives carried Tallmadge to Ventura County Sheriff’s East County Jail for possession with intent to sell and possession with intent to sell a designated controlled substance.

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Officers then searched the suspect’s home and three ultimate surprise waiting for them. Alongside 141 grams of MDMA and a “large sum” of cash, the search team found more than 10,000 alprazolam pills. The detectives reportedly had no clue how Tallmadge had obtained so many of the pills. Detective Corey Nicholas is one of the Ventura County authorities working on the case. His theory, according to a statement he gave to the press, was that Tallmadge had bought the alprazolam from a darknet vendor or an internet feather in China or India. DeepDotWeb

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