Gardaí seize drugs after probe into 'Darknet' drug operation

Ecstasy tablets, LSD and other controlled drugs to value €180,000 have been seized by gardaí in a raid on ‘Darknet’ drug distribution centre in Dublin.

At 1.40pm yesterday, members from the Garda National Drug Unit, the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) and the Computer Crime Investigation Unit (CCIU) searched a secure premises on South Circular Road, Dublin 8.

Two men in their 30s were arrested at the scene. They are detained at Kevin Street and Kilmainham Garda stations under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996.

The raid came about as a result of an international drug trafficking investigation into the sale and supply of controlled drugs on an encrypted layer of the internet known as "the Darknet".

Surveillance and enquiries carried out by the Garda National Drug Unit identified where it was believed an Irish vendor was based.

“With the invaluable assistance of the CAB and CCIU a number of computers were safely retrieved with accessible information immediately at the time of entry on this search,” said a Garda statement.

“At this time analysis is continuing with regard to storage of electro currency (Bitcoin) and CAB have already seized certain currency assets.

A follow-up search in Harolds Cross, Dublin 6 resulted in further small seizure of controlled drugs and documentation in relation to offshore bank accounts in Switzerland, Belize, Poland and a number of other countries.

The financial investigation in relation to this investigation is continuing with new information still coming to light at this time.

An international day of action to disrupt global activity on the Darknet and remove certain websites and forums is to conclude within the next 24 hours under the FBI/Europol operation codenamed "Onymous".

“The fact that such a significant vendor has been arrested in the presence of an encrypted but open computer with address lists for customers all over the world will be of significant interest to many global law enforcement agencies who specialise in Darknet investigations,” the Garda statement concluded.

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