Charges laid over alleged $1.46m supply of prohibited drugs via 'dark web'

Friday, 28 April 2023 10:00:59 AM

A man will face court today charged over allegedly supplying prohibited drugs via the ‘dark web’.

In November 2022, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad established Strike Force Presland to investigate the supply of prohibited drugs across NSW using dark net marketplaces.

During the course of the investigation, detectives identified a marketplace facilitating the supply of cannabis in exchange for cryptocurrency.

Following extensive inquiries, Strike Force Presland investigators arrested a 55-year-old man in a carpark in Belgrave Street, Kempsey, about 11.30am yesterday (Thursday 27 April 2023).

Shortly after, detectives executed a search warrant at a home in Yarravel – about 7km west of Kempsey – where they located several items, including mature cannabis plants, cannabis leaves and seeds, $3755 in cash, and cryptocurrency worth approximately $1000.

These items were seized to undergo further forensic examination.

The man was taken to Kempsey Police Station, where he was charged with eight offences, including:

  • three counts of supply prohibited drugs,
  • cultivate prohibited plant, and
  • four counts of deal with property proceeds of crime.

Police will allege in court that the man had received more than $1.46 million in cryptocurrency in exchange for prohibited drugs on more than 450 occasions between March 2018 and April 2023.

It will be further alleged the man used these funds to purchase property.

He was refused bail to appear at Kempsey Local Court today (Friday 28 April 2023).

Cybercrime Squad Commander, Superintendent Matt Craft, praised the work of investigators.

“Our detectives are specially trained to investigate, disrupt, and dismantle the supply of prohibited drugs, no matter how or where they are sold,” Supt Craft said.

“We’re putting people on notice – the dark web will not provide you a cloak of invisibility and anonymity to conduct any illicit sales of drugs. NSW Police will catch up to you and place you before the courts.”

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Presland investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.