Australian Woman Charged Over Darkweb Bitcoin Drug Buys

Crime, News | April 17, 2018 By:

The Australian Border Force (ABF) has charged a 32-year-old woman from Brisbane for allegedly buying drugs from the dark web using bitcoin.

The ABF said that on December 22, 2017, they detected a small amount of MDMA (aka Ecstasy) in a parcel consignment from the United Kingdom to an address in Brisbane. A few weeks later, they detected another package from the UK containing fentanyl to the same Australian address. Australia’s Federal Police (AFP) was then called in to take over the investigation and searched a home in Brisbane on February 2, resulting in the seizure of further quantities of MDMA, LSD, Dimethylthyltrytamine (DMT) and Oxycodone.

The unnamed Brisbane woman, who appeared in court on Friday, was subsequently arrested and charged with two counts of importing a marketable quantity of a border-controlled drug, four counts of importing a border-controlled drug, and nine counts of state related offenses.

ABF QLD regional commander Terry Price alleged that the suspect used cryptocurrency to order, pay, and coordinate the shipment of different type of the illicit drugs through a dark web portal.

“Through close collaboration with our law enforcement partners, we are able to detect imports purchased through these sites,” Price said. “We continue to refine our targeting and testing to make sure this deadly drug doesn’t make its way into the hands of Australian users. But people ultimately need to take responsibility for their own health and well-being.”

Last year, The ABF created a team of intelligence analysts for the dark web to monitor illicit drug and gun trade, extremist activity, child pornography and more. The team has also been monitoring large-scale dark web vendors who accept cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Monero to disguise their operations.

In December 2017, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent Matthew Allen said that many of the illicit activities conducted in cyber-enabled crimes are paid for with cryptocurrencies. According to Allen, many of the traditional trans-national crimes – child exploitation, drug smuggling, intellectual property rights violations, illegal export of firearms, and money laundering – that HSI investigates have begun to migrate to become “cyber-enabled,” with significant parts of the crime committed over the Internet, including both the “indexed” Internet and the “unindexed” dark web.