Nine people were arrested in South Korea for dealing drugs using digital coins as reported by Korean Herald on 23 December 2018. The perpetrators were also growing Cannabis and had an unauthorized supply of harmful narcotics.
As a shock to the crypto community and as an eye opener to shady deals, the drug dealers were accepting payments through DarkCoin, privacy focussed cryptocurrency. The alleged criminals were using the darknet and even set up a website to sell drugs.
All the nine arrested persons are youths, aged between the 20s and 30s. The owner of the website, identified as Shin, is also among the arrested.
Darknet websites are hidden from the conventional internet and special tools or browsers like Tor are needed to access these sites. These websites are embedded under layers of encryption and provide the hidden operation to their admins and users.
This is one reason that darknet is extremely popular among criminals dealing in drugs, arms and illicit content. The Korea Herald wrote it was:
“the first time in Korea an operator of a drug trafficking site on the darknet has been arrested and the website closed down by the prosecution.”
Shin’s website attracted a large number of customers over the months. Between March and November, the community had 636 members and transacted the sale of drugs on 50 occasions.
The smugglers also traded psychoactive drugs like LSD and MDMA. They were shipped from other countries and sold on the website. The authorities also charged the owner and the programmers of the website of smoking marijuana.
The authorities tracked down the illegal transactions after reviewing the suspect’s phones and computers. The dealers had reportedly managed to deal drugs worth over 8 to 10 million Korean Won, carried out using DarkCoin.
Another high-profile drug-busting had occurred August last year when a French national, Gal Vallerius was arrested in Atlanta after authorities had managed to track his forbidden narcotics deals on the darknet by analyzing his Bitcoin transactions.
The link between drugs and cryptocurrencies is a paradigm well accepted. The anonymous nature of the cryptocurrencies makes them a perfect tool for criminals.
This crackdown was a significant step forward for South Korea’s cybercrime law enforcement agency, especially for a country that is experiencing such a rapid technological advancement that many common people are struggling to keep up.
Such bold moves should bring in righteousness and moral conduct.