Two Men Standing Trial In Slovakia’s First Darknet Case

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Investigators in Bratislava, Slovakia arrested two men for selling weapons and narcotics on the darknet. In a joint law enforcement operation, the Europol and the local police arrested the 33-year-old Adam and the 28-year-old Lukáš for drug and arms trafficking on the dark side of the internet. The prosecution accused the two suspects of dealing with guns and drugs, court documents state. Adam and Lukáš are currently held in police custody and could face sentences of 10 to 15 years for drug trafficking and 3-8 years for selling weapons to their customers.

In September 2016, law enforcement authorities raided a location where investigators found 58 cannabis plants “equal to 15,000 doses”, LSD “amounting to 117 doses”, 5 guns, and 600 rounds of ammunition. Detectives found the login details of the suspects and used them to examine the activities of the duo on the dark web. Investigators discovered that the defendants had 203,000 euros in bitcoins (in their wallets), which they allegedly used for conducting anonymous payments. Law enforcement authorities claimed that they had also identified other buyers and sellers of drugs, guns, and explosives.

“Criminals like to use these open websites for illegal activities,” Jari Liukku from Europol said in a statement. According to him, illegal “shopping” on illicit marketplaces is spreading. Liukku seeks to engage in a better cooperation between the member countries of the European Union. According to the official, the Europol will turn a major focus on the migrant crisis, smuggling, human trafficking, document forgery, and money laundering on the internet.

“We realize that crimes are moving into the Internet environment,” police chief Tibor Gašpar said. The chief of police wants to hire 30 more investigators to the cyber crime department of the police.

“Europol supported Slovakia throughout the investigation by providing analytical and financial intelligence,” a Europol statement read. “A cross-check performed during the house searches generated a hit on Europol’s databases which helped investigators identify a darknet vendor living in another EU country. The individual was suspected of supplying one of the firearms found during house searches in Bratislava.”

According to the news outlet ibtimes.co.uk, one of the suspects in the case was the administrator of a dark web marketplace, however, law enforcement authorities did not enclose the exact name of the market, which had been allegedly seized by the police. The British media outlet claimed that in coordination with the Europol, the darknet “underground” website was seized. According to a Europol statement, the administrator of the dark web market allegedly managed the website since 2015 and had at least 10 kilograms of cannabis sold on the illicit site. The news outlet added that both Europol and Slovakian law enforcement authorities believe that they can now extend the probe to the sellers and the buyers of the illicit website.

“When investigating illegal trade on the internet, international cooperation is essential,” a Slovakian government report read cited by Aktualne, a media outlet covering the Czech Republic. The news site stated that the sale of narcotics in Slovakia has been increasingly carried out on the darknet, similar to the increase of drug smuggling in Germany.

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