According to officials from Sweden’s National Unit Against International and Organized Crime, law enforcement in Sweden has arrested a man on drug charges who had allegedly been working as the administrator of the Swedish darkweb drug market Flugsvamp 2.0.
In an interview with a Swedish news outlet, a government official speaking on behalf Sweden’s National Unit Against International and Organized Crime revealed that a 26-year-old who had recently been arrested on drug charges had been running Flugsvamp 2.0, one of the most popular darkweb drug markets in Sweden. Not only has law enforcement arrested the owner of the darkweb marketplace and forum, but Swedish authorities have launched a “big investigation” into other members of the site. So far, according to the prosecutor who spoke to the press, more than 30 countries have been asked to assist in the investigation.
The suspect, according to court documents, has been accused of “serious drug abuse that started in April 2015 via the internet and in a large number of places in Sweden, including Stockholm, Sweden [translated from Swedish by this author].”
Flugsvamp 2.0, as the name indicates, is the immediate successor to the original Flugsvamp. Flugsvamp 2.0 launched only a few months after international law enforcement ended the original marketplace during Operation Onymous in November 2014. At the time, Flugsvamp was one of the three most commonly used darkweb drug markets in Sweden. The only competition was the second Silk Road (Silk Road 2.0) and Pandora market. The original Flugsvamp, at its peak, had only 114 drug vendors.
“Since the restart, Flugfamp has once again established itself as the leading marketplace for drugs on the Swedish darknet,” according to a Flugsvamp 2.0 wiki.
The suspect currently in custody of law enforcement in Sweden allegedly worked as a Flugsvamp 2.0 administrator since April 2015. Anna Svedin, a prosecutor with the National Unit Against International and Organized Crime, explained that the site was designed in a way that allowed the administrator to think he had some form of plausible deniability. However, she added the young man from Lund who operated the site knew exactly what he had been doing. He had also committed several serious drug offenses, she said. She declined to discuss the charges any further, citing the preservation of an ongoing investigation into the site, other staff, and some of the site’s users.
The prosecutor said that any prosecution “was a long ways off” due to the size of the investigation. Investigators with the National Unit Against International and Organized Crime have identified sales made to customers in more than 30 countries and have requested assistance from those countries in furtherance of the investigation.
Law enforcement has been watching the suspected administrator since the end of 2017. They reportedly intercepted his phone conversations and tracked his movement. The investigation began more than one year ago. However, the evidence they have collected in the case against the suspected administrator dates back to April 2015. The prosecutor said that law enforcement has been devoting resources to the case because Flugsvamp 2.0 “is a huge problem.” The admin alone had earned almost SEK 20 million.
She declined to comment on whether or not the specialists at the National Unit Against International and Organized Crime have identified any additional suspected staff members or market users. She similarly chose not to answer a question concerning other possible suspects in police custody. “I do not want to discuss anything related to [the ongoing] investigation,” she told the press after a number of questions with a similar focus.
Since the investigation is ongoing, the prosecutor has called for the detention of the suspected administrator of Flugsvamp 2.0. She said that she suspected that the 26-year-old could, “by destroying or by removing property, avoid paying the amount which can be assumed to be forfeited as the assets of the crime [translated from Swedish by this author].” The amount seized during the suspected admin’s arrest totals SEK 19.6 million.
The court proceedings and investigation are both ongoing.