Two suspects from Rijeka have been arrested in Croatia in a joint operation between the Croatian and the German law enforcement agencies. The two suspects are accused of running a drug ring involving the purchase and sale of drugs on the dark web with virtual currencies.
According to the Office of the State Attorney General (ODO), an investigation of the two was launched after two different but similar drug-related crimes were committed in Rijeka. The investigation later connected the two incidents to a gang the two belonged to. They were arrested and held in an investigative prison for further interrogation to help the police finalize the investigation, which has taken months.
The suspects, a 27-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man, were accused of collaboratively using a hidden and anonymous section of the internet called the dark web to procure illicit drugs using digital coins for the last seven months. On the dark web, they purchased amphetamines, ecstasy pills, Psilocybin, marijuana, and MDMA. The drugs are said to have been shipped from Germany. The drugs were then delivered to their apartments and later to their customers via mail.
On November 20 this year, the police raided the apartments of the two suspects after obtaining a search warrant from the local court. In the 24-year-old suspect’s apartment, the police found 367 MDMA tablets, 119 grams of powdered MDMA, 43 LSD pills, 19 grams of marijuana, ecstasy pills, more than 100 grams of amphetamines, several doses of psilocybin, three digital weighing scales, and a phone among other drug handling items.
At the 27-year old suspect’s house, 107 grams of amphetamines and over 20 grams of marijuana were seized. All the drugs are said to have been ordered online on the dark web and delivered to both homes through postal services.
The lengthy investigation which led to arrest of the two suspects was conducted by the Primorsko-Goranska Drug Crime Unit, the Administration Police, the Criminal Investigation Department, the National Intelligence Service in a corroboration with the German Embassy in Zagreb, and the German Customs Department through their border and customs officers.
According to Primorje-Gorski Kotar Police, corroboration and smooth cooperation among the several agencies is what led to success in the criminal investigation involving the dark web. “The apprehension of the two dark web drug vendors is a result of an efficient, successful multi-year cooperation between the German government through their embassy and border and customs police, and the Croatian police in general. That is the only way to expose and stop controlled substances from being shipped into our country in the shortest time possible,” said the police.
“The dark web is truly a dark place only accessed through special browsers, promising anonymity which makes it a hotbed from all types of criminals. Being a new area of investigation, it is very challenging. However, with such corroborations, much can be achieved. Different law enforcement agencies, as well as policymakers, should keep updating their skills and policies to be able to control the modern and ever-evolving crime on the internet,” the Kotar police concluded.
The two Rijeka ODO suspects are facing multiple charges of drug possession with intent to supply and will be appearing in court for pretrial.