According to reports from Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, authorities arrested three Russian citizens for selling drugs on the internet. The three, believed to have been part of an organized drug trafficking group, allegedly sold illegal substances in exchange for cryptocurrencies.
The Investigation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Kaluga Oblast investigated three suspects involved in organized drug distribution through the internet. Two suspects lived in the Maloyaroslavets district of Kaluga and one lived in the Zhizdrinsky district. According to evidence uncovered by criminal investigators, the group leader started selling drugs online in early 2017.
He later introduced his brother to internet drug distribution and cryptocurrencies. They later introduced a mutual acquaintance to the activity. Authorities charged the men for the illegal sale of large quantities of illegal drugs and psychotropic substances. The law allowed for a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison for all three suspects.
Not long before Russian authorities arrested three suspects from Kaluga Oblast, officers of the Directorate for Drug Trafficking Control opened an investigation into internet dealers in Chelyabinsk Oblast. The investigation began with the arrest of a single man, but expanded to include a total of seven suspects in Chelyabinsk and Kopeisk.
Authorities uncovered a drug warehouse in the city of Chelyabinsk with almost 40 kilograms of various illegal substances stored inside. During the investigation into the warehouse’s owners and other illegal activity involving the drug stash spot, police arrested a 28-year-old man in connection with an online drug shop.
The investigation revealed that the 28-year-old was the so-called “keeper of the warehouse” for a group of internet drug dealers. He corresponded with at least seven co-conspirators involved in the distribution of “synthetic” drugs through the internet. He communicated with the group through a messenger, the report said. The internet drug vendors dealt in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. They also arranged the warehouse keeper’s payments in cryptocurrencies.
Police then tracked the cryptocurrency transactions to debit cards. The Ministry of Internal Affairs in Chelyabinsk Oblast announced that the investigation was ongoing and that authorities were aware of additional participants as well as unreported crimes committed by the group. After packaging and other preparations, “sales took place on an automated system for processing orders on a well-known Internet site,” Irina Volk, the official representative of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia, said. The FSB played a role in the arrest of two suspects, Volk said. A 29-year-old and a 26-year-old in Sverdlovsk organized the large-scale distribution network in 2016.
Several investigations are ongoing.