The police have arrested six men in Tranto for their involvement in dark web drug trafficking between Italy and Spain. The suspects are said to have purchased large quantities of marijuana and narcotics off the dark web and to have had them shipped after paying with bitcoin.
The six suspects, five Italians and one Spanish, were arrested in Trento by the Mobile Squad in a joint police operation with special agents from the Directorate of Criminal Investigation, the Mobile Squad, the customs and border officials, the Intelligence Service, and the Flying Squad.
The investigation was launched after a massive drug seizure at the German airport in Frankfurt on 8 August 2017, which brought about a debate on the state of security at the airport. An envelope containing about 20 grams of cocaine, which had been procured online on a dark web marketplace and destined for an Italian citizen, was seized at the airport.
After the seizure, the investigating detectives from the Flying Squad assumed that further purchases and drug orders may have been trafficked in a similar manner, and, hence, they set up traps to catch the traffickers. With the help of their counterparts from the Intelligence Service and German customs departments, they arrested a suspect in Frankfurt on 29 August 2018 at his home. A search in his house led to the seizure of more than 500 grams of marijuana and about 50 grams of cocaine.
According to the investigation leads during the first arrest, more people had been involved in the illegal drug importation. The detectives had also been able to link the seizure at the Frankfurt German airport of 8 August 2017 to that of 29 August 2018. The drugs had been purchased online from the same dark web vendor, who had been paid with Bitcoin, which had been converted from top-up pay-points.
Thanks to telephone communication interception, the police recovered a mobile phone from the first suspect and analyzed his communication patterns; the Trento Police Headquarters worked on a search warrant and raided the house of the second suspect. Although the suspect was not at his home during the raid, 50 grams of cocaine were seized along with more than 8,800 grams of marijuana and €5,940 in value of fake banknotes. The suspect was arrested the following day after a precautionary order was released.
The second arrest led to further leads after the interrogation of the suspect indicated that more people were involved in the drug trafficking ring from Spain. On 20 September 2018, the investigating detectives, with the help of the Intelligence Service and the Rovereto PS Department, intercepted a truck traveling from Spain, which carried over 18 grams of marijuana and 3,500 euros in cash for payments. Three more suspects were arrested during the incident.
The following day, communication analysis lead to the arrest of yet another drug criminal after linking all the suspects with their involvement in either planning, procurement, or importation of the controlled substances into the country. The shareholding relationship between the Spanish suppliers and the Italian retailers in illegal business among the suspects has also been established.
The state police, in a press release about the operation, have announced that they have established a common and recent tread as to which drugs criminals are using. A motorbike, three cars, and more than 3,500 euros in cash were confiscated in the investigation and have been termed as proceeds of crime.