The cops had recently dismantled a gang from Britain trading MDMA and ecstasy online through the darknet. A series of raids and interceptions had been carried out, states National Crime Agency (NCA). The officers turned out to be suspicious and started enquiring last summer following the interception of large parcels of MDMA. The packages were destined for Asia, Europe and the United States.
During the investigation, the NCA mentioned that 134 kgs of amphetamine, over 6000 alprazolam or Diazepam tablets, and 90 kgs of MDMA had been recovered in total. Combinedly, all three drugs bore a street value of £4.3 million. On analyzing the encrypted messages on EncroChat messaging app, the cops could identify the suspects behind the drug trade. The suspects were also believed to conduct money laundering that they had earned via the black market trading utilizing cryptocurrency.
The accused duo had been identified to be men of ages 24 years and 31 years. The pair had been arrested on Thursday in Hebburn and South Shields of South Tyneside. They had been detained under the charges of importing and trading class A, B and C drugs and remained in custody for questioning.
The officers from the US Homeland Security Investigations, with the support of NCA, had also searched an address in Epsom of Surrey alongside several other locations in South Shields. North East Special Operations Unit (NERSOU), Northumbria Police and Surrey Police had also contributed to the investigation. The raid had aided the cops to seize computers, mobile phones, and drug-packaging paraphernalia.
The investigators had also discovered that the alleged drugs had been imported from the Netherlands and being desperately sold on the various dark web markets using four pseudonyms – 100and1000s, Hundredsandthousands, HundredsUK and Sundaefundae.
The intercepted packages containing MDMA had been destined for the addresses in the US, UK, Norway, Israel, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong. The Border Force Officers and the NCA had intercepted the suspected packages in June and July 2021.
“This action against an organized crime group supplying drugs via the dark web has dismantled a well-established operation,” NCA operations manager Martin Clarke said.
“We have worked closely with partners in the US to target the individuals involved, who are ultimately preying on the vulnerable and destroying communities.”
“This investigation shows that those who try to use the dark web and encrypted communication devices to anonymously commit crimes can be identified.”
“There are two people from South Shields we are still seeking, who we believe are overseas. They know they are wanted and I would encourage them to hand themselves in.”
Attaché Eric Felman, the US Homeland Security Investigator, said:
“One of our top priorities as an agency is to disrupt and dismantle international narcotics smuggling activities at home and around the globe.”
“The strong partnership between Homeland Security Investigations and the National Crime Agency continues to produce positive results in combating organized international crime affecting both of our countries.”
Source: Chronicle Live
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