Thursday, March 9, 2017

Six Arrested In Austrian Vendor Bust

Six persons, aged between 17 and 40, were arrested in Branau am Inn, Austria for allegedly running a vendor shop on the dark web selling narcotics.

After several months of investigation, Austrian law enforcement authorities managed to detain the six suspects. During the house searches of the alleged vendor group, police found half a kilo of amphetamines, 500 pieces of “psychotropic tablets”, 150 grams of MDMA, cocaine, heroin, ketamine, LSD, and ecstasy pills. Additionally, investigators seized a machete, pistols, and other “forbidden weapons”.

According to official court documents, the two main suspects are a 29-year-old and a 31-year-old. Police claim they have evidence that the two accused persons sold a total of four kilograms of marijuana.

To conceal the traceability of the dark net orders, the criminals used various locations in Branau for shipping. They also sent parcels to international customers, police information says. However, most of the narcotics were sold directly to customers in the Branau district.

Law enforcement authorities detained the two main suspects while they were selling drugs. On the order of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Ried im Innkreis, they were transferred to the Ried Prison. By the Narcotic Drugs Act and the Weapons Act, several customers, as well as suppliers and accomplices, will be summoned to court.

Earlier this month, three suspects were standing trial at the Mainz Regional Court in Germany for drug trafficking. According to the prosecution, a father and his 31-year-old son from Regensburg, Bavaria, distributed narcotics on the dark web, while the third suspect bought bulk quantities of drugs from the vendor duo. However, the case is not as simple as it may seem.

The Mainz Regional Court became a battleground between the defendants and the prosecutors. According to the suspects’ defense, the investigating agencies—The Regional Center for Cybercrime (LZC) of Koblenz, the Mainz Investigative Group of the Landeskriminalamt (State Police) in Rheinland-Pfalz, and the Customs Investigation Office of Frankfurt—used “secret investigation methods.” The lawyers’ request to read the discovery or hear the methods used in the investigation never passed the 3rd Criminal Court. The defense argued that the illegal investigations and evidence gathering made the whole case invalid. The trio’s lawyer said that the judge signed the warrant in the case blindly since the “secret investigation methods” violated the scope of the order. The judge signed warrants for house raids and interceptions that already took place as did the evidence procured during the illegal searches.

According to the prosecution, the father and son sold narcotics on the dark web using the “White Dragon” username. The vendor duo allegedly sold 5.3 kilograms of amphetamine, 550 grams of crystal meth, 1.8 kilograms hash, and 1,100 ecstasy pills between October 2015 and August 2016. The suspects completed 570 orders and received $147,000 in BTC as payment.

The third suspect, a 25-year-old Bavarian man, once ordered 1.9 kilograms of amphetamines and 250 ecstasy pills from the other two defendants with the intention to resell. Unfortunately, we do not know if the man already sold the narcotics, or conspired to sell them.