Austrian Couple Arrested for Suspected Darknet Drug Trafficking
The Vienna State Criminal Police Office has announced the arrest of a Vienna couple that allegedly purchased and resold drugs on the darknet. The police believe the couple purchased Ecstasy, amphetamine, methamphetamine and other drugs on the dark web and resold them to buyers from Austria and Germany.
The couple was investigated by drug investigators of the Vienna State Criminal Police Office charged with fighting against cross-border drug trafficking. The investigations against the couple’s drug trafficking operation were initiated following interceptions of drug packages coming out of Vienna. In the course on the inquiry, the investigators confiscated packages with drugs that amounted to 500g of amphetamine, 400 ecstasy tablets and about 10 g of cocaine. The intercepted drug packages were on their way to buyers in either Germany or other parts of Austria. Further investigations on the seized drug packages pointed the investigators in the couple’s direction.
On the morning of September 19, 2019, the police executed a search warrant on the couple’s apartment in Brigittenau, Vienna. In the search the cops found and seized 600 ecstasy pills, 73g of amphetamine, 35g of methamphetamine, 53g of marijuana, 13 LSD trips and trace amounts of cocaine and cannabis resin. The search ended in the arrest of the two Austrians, a 32-year-old man, and a 28-year-old woman.
The couple whose names the police failed to disclose remains in police custody as they await trial. If found guilty of trafficking drugs for commercial purposes, the couple could be imprisoned for 1-10 years.
The strategic location of Austria makes it essential in the distribution of drugs. Growth in the use of darknet drug markets and their dependence on mail for delivery of drugs has increased the use of Vienna International Airport. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) Austrian law enforcement agencies prioritize international joint operations that fight against darknet drug trafficking.
This was evident in their involvement in a global operation that reportedly resulted in 61 arrests and the closure of 50 dark web vendor and buyer accounts. The operation was launched in mid-2018 and carried on to early 2019 when its results were announced.
In November 2018 as part of the global operation the Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office, the Vienna State Criminal Police Office and special intervention units Cobra and Wega arrested a group of young men, seized cash and drugs after searching their houses. The cops believe the men operated as Pablos Kitchen in an undisclosed darknet marketplace and shipped a variety of drugs to buyers from all over the world. The police suspect the men distributed over 1800 packages of cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, methamphetamine, and cannabis.
In December 2018 the agencies arrested a ring of Serbians that had been selling ecstasy pills on the dark web from Vienna to the US and other parts of Europe. The arrest resulted in the seizure of more than 91,000 ecstasy pills. The cops believe the ring made profits of over 13 million Euros in the course of its drug trafficking operation.