Drug traffickers have gone high-tech in Telangana, using the dark web and cryptocurrency to ply their trade, the police said on Thursday, 1 September.
The cops told reporters in Hyderabad that an investigation had led to the busting of a drug racket and the arrest of eight people in connection with the case.
The interstate drug trafficking network was operating via the dark web and using cryptocurrency for transactions, the police said.
Hyderabad City Commissioner of Police CV Anand said, “We have arrested eight drug peddlers and 30 consumers.”
The peddlers have been identified as Narendra Arya from Haryana; Farhan Mohammed Ansari from Rajasthan; and Utkarsh Umang, Sahil Sharma, Abdullah Ahmed Khan, Indra Kumar, Aviti Charan Kumar, and P Bhushan Raj hail from Hyderabad.
He added that the drug peddlers were selling marijuana, charas (a cannabis concentrate), MDMA, LSD, and synthetic drugs through the dark web.
“To avoid being traced by the police and the cybersecurity cell, the peddlers used to operate their illegal business via the dark web and made financial transactions via cryptocurrency,” explained Anand.
The Hyderabad City Police recovered 140 grams of charas, 1.45 kg of marijuana, 184 blots of synthetic drugs, and 10 grams of MDMA, among other things, from the arrested.
“The drug recovered from the peddlers is worth ₹9 lakh,” the police commissioner said.
The cops also recovered ₹2,000 in cash and seven high-end mobile phones from the arrested.
They were produced in court, and have since been sent to 14 days of judicial custody, the Humayun Nagar Police Station’s SHO Kyasaram Reddy told South First.
They are currently lodged at the Central Prison in Chanchalguda, he added.
According to the Hyderabad City Police, Arya and Ansari were the kingpins of the operation.
“The two were operating their illegal business on the dark web under the names of ‘Holy Shop’ and ‘Treeminator’,” the police commissioner said. He added that the rest made deliveries.
“Arya and Ansari used to take orders, while the rest used to deliver the ordered drugs at the doorstep, neatly packed in envelopes, stationery, boxes, or ecommerce parcels,” Anand said.
“Arya was operating the racket for a year, and Ansari joined him some six months back,” said the police commissioner.
“During our investigation, we learnt that Arya had around 450 consumers across the country. He also made transactions worth ₹30 lakh using cryptocurrencies, while Ansari made a transaction worth ₹15 lakh,” he added.
He also said that all the arrested were students of engineering or business administration.
Cases have been registered against the eight at the Humayun Nagar, Chadherghat, and Jubilee Hills Police stations under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985.
What is Dark Web
The dark web is a part of the internet that is not indexed by any search engines, meaning people cannot search for them as they do via common browsers.
Unlike the deep web, the dark web is intentionally hidden, requiring a specific type of browser to access.
It is often used for illicit purposes, the most noted example being the Silk Road marketplace.
Among other things, this online black market was notorious for facilitating the trade of illegal narcotic and psychotropic substances.