Police say three Vancouver Island men have been arrested for allegedly running a ‘dark web’ drug trafficking ring in Nanaimo, B.C., following an undercover investigation that began at the beginning of 2019.
An RCMP news release on Tuesday said a vendor calling itself AlwaysOverweight was using cryptocurrency and encrypted messaging apps to sell drugs including methamphetamine, oxycodone, cocaine, MDMA , Xanax and fentanyl which were advertised as heroin.
“They were shipped through the international postal system and distributed locally,” said Cpl. Arash Seid.
The RCMP’s Organized Crime Division describes the dark web as the ‘hidden third layer’ of the internet, below the open web and the deep web, and said it is accessible through special browsers that hide the digital footprint users.
Police said they managed to break through the criminal group’s “digital barriers” and identified an address in Nanaimo, British Columbia, as the physical location of the seller.
They said officers searched the building and seized a variety of drugs, packaging, mailing envelopes, documents, cash, computers and data storage devices.
Three men were arrested in February 2020. They are scheduled to appear in the Nanaimo Provincial Courthouse on June 7, charged with trafficking and other offences.
Seyed said investigations into international online drug sales are complex and take time to reach the stage of charges. In the case of Nanaimo, this has been exacerbated by pandemic-related delays.
“These are quite complicated investigations, as you can imagine…often multi-jurisdictional, international in nature, involving a number of law enforcement agencies and other partners,” he said. he declares.