Finnish authorities, together with its police departments, Finnish customs and the National Bureau of Investigation are investigating over 6,000 suspects, who were involved with the dark web site, Silkkitie. Silkkitie, also known as Valhalla, was a Finnish drug selling marketplace on the dark web which began operating in 2013.
These suspects identified by Finnish authorities are believed to have committed narcotic offenses and other illegal activities on the dark web marketplace. According to Finnish authorities, Silkkitie, the Finnish version of Silk Road, was responsible for the majority of the illicit drug supply in large cities in Finland and to underage children. Finnish authorities are investigating these suspects in four different categories, thus tax evasion crimes, drugs, and doping offenses, firearms offenses and drug smuggling.
Image Source: www.insidehook.com
Silkkitie or Valhalla, for several years, saw numerous transactions, including sales of doping substances, narcotics, illegal weapons and medical substances. According to Finnish Customs, the dark web marketplace was one of the oldest and internationally acclaimed sites on the dark web and racked in over $55 million annually.
Jari Räty, a detective superintendent with theNational Bureau of Investigation (NBI), stated that “Customs has already identified more than 6,000 people.” He added that the investigation was a major one and spread crossed the country. Superintendent Räty also explained that most of the Finnish police departments were currently searching through evidence and materials received from Finnish Customs.
Reports from Finnish authorities state that investigators resorted to digital forensic evidence to uncover the identities of the numerous buyers and sellers who dealt in many illegal substances on Silkkitie. Finnish police also revealed that many of the uncovered suspects, have no criminal background or any prior conviction and were from all the various classes in the society.
Out of the thousands of suspects identified, 84% of them are men whereas the remaining 16% were women. According to many Finnish news outlets, one of the high profile suspects, is a senior police officer with the Helsinki Police Department, who allegedly bought and dealt drugs from the dark web marketplace from 2016 to 2019.
Detective Superintendent Räty, speaking again on the bust, stated that, Silkkitie moved illegal drugs far beyond the largest cities in Finland. He added that the online illegal drug trade was so big, it didn’t matter where you lived in Finland. If you wanted to get drugs, you would just order it from the dark web marketplace and it would be delivered by mail to one’s doorstep.
Superintendent Räty highlighted the rise in online narcotic dealings and stated that it is a clear sign of how the market is changing. “Narcotic trade was previously dealt in large cities. The rise in online dealing has however made it more common in rural areas also, as well as small municipalities,” he stated.
Image Source: www.illicit-trade.com
The dark web marketplace was reportedly selling drugs to children as young as 15 years old. Silkkitie had over 400,000 monikers registered on its platform and had over 78,000 different product listing for sale. The dark web marketplace, saw over 500,000 transactions every year, with the administrator taking a 5% commission on any trade or transaction carried out of the marketplace. According to reports from Finnish authorities, some of the orders made on Silkkitie were so large that, the buyers, had to resell some of it.
The director of enforcement at Finnish Customs, Hannu Sinkkonen, also stated that buyers and sellers on the dark web marketplace believed that their narcotic trading and other illegal doings were safe because of the encrypted network they were on, which gave them total anonymity. “This myth has now been broken,” he added.
Silkkitie or Valhalla was shut down by law enforcement in March this year. The servers of the dark web marketplace were sized, together with a huge amount of euros and Bitcoin stashed in an online cryptocurrency wallet, controlled by its administrators. The site had been in operation since 2013 and was considered to be one of the largest drug-dealing marketplaces on the dark web.
According to Finnish authorities, many drug dealers were arrested at that time, whiles others migrated to different dark web marketplaces. The shutdown of the dark web marketplace also led to arrests outside Finland and the site served numerous customers across the globe.
The dark web marketplace was shut down as a result of a joint collaboration involving Europol, Finnish authorities, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, French law enforcement, German law enforcement as well as Canadian law enforcement. A 22-man-group, made of prosecutors have been assigned to this case and any other subsequent cases which may arise as a result of the ongoing investigation.
Source: Newsnow Finland
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