On the dark web, drug trade is rife. Fuelled by a mostly anonymous setup, buyers and sellers connect all over the world to trade in drugs and, oftentimes, other illegal goods.
For three Finnish men, the anonymity ended when authorities shut down their sophisticated drug ring operation—and in the process seized both Bitcoin and a large quantity of drugs totaling over €1 million.
During the seizure of the goods, customs found over 30,000 acid tabs, 40,000 ecstasy pills, 40 kilos of other drugs including methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, MDMA, MDVP and alfa-pvp. This was a huge haul for customs and it came about due to routine surveillance efforts. It appears that the items had been imported from countries known for their large production of drugs, namely Germany and Holland.
This is an exceptionally large haul of drugs; in fact, it’s one of the largest ever made in Finland. It comes through a multi-national effort with the help of authorities within other European countries.
The Finnish trio had been running an online drug store on the popular Valhalla marketplace between 2014 and 2016, with payments being made in Bitcoin—hence the seizure of these accounts.
The marketplace offers users a plethora of shops to purchase from using Bitcoin. Though the main product is illegal drugs, others are up for offer such as fraudulent credit card details and PayPal accounts.
Valhalla was originally a Finnish-only marketplace, which explains why the trio were entrenched in this platform in particular. Each of the men involved in the drugs ring are from Finland and had no prior drug offenses before the sting occurred. They are likely to be facing lengthy prison sentences for their involvement in this matter.
Finnish officials, on the other hand, are likely to see a significant dent in the quantity of drugs on the streets of Finland. While they were very proficient in escaping the eyes of the law for a long time, they were eventually caught.
Drug drops, where users in a particular area buy drugs from another local, involve a sort of “treasure hunt” where buyers are instructed to pick up their package from a hidden location in a public place. This could include examples such as taping the drugs package to the underside of a building’s eaves, hiding it behind a meter box, etc. Because sellers mix up their drop locations with each customer, it can be difficult to trace them, since there isn’t usually a recurring pattern.
Running your own drugs shop on any darknet market is an operation that comes with a high amount of risk involved—far more so than if you are just a casual buyer. No matter where in the world you are, trafficking in large amounts of illegal drugs immediately makes you a target for law enforcement agencies. When it comes to darknet markets, law enforcement agencies in several countries will often become involved, which drives the risk even higher.
When conducting any sort of business on the dark web, be sure to remain anonymous. Remember that trading in illegal goods or services may leave you facing fines, or worse, jail.