A 25-year-old Adelaide Hills man has been charged with selling highly toxic drugs on the dark web and money laundering through cryptocurrency.
South Australia Police allege the man was operating a number of different online profiles, each used to sell different types of illicit drugs.
They allege he sourced the drugs and packaging equipment in bulk, then prepared orders for national distribution from a storage unit in the Adelaide Hills.
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His customers would make payments using cryptocurrency, police allege.
“The vendor amassed significant wealth over a period of time allegedly through this illicit activity and has laundered some of the money,” a police spokesperson said.
SA police shared photos of what the accused drug dealer’s profile looked like on the dark web. Credit: SAPOL
When police searched a home and two storage units last month, they seized a large quantity of illicit drugs, cash, $1.5 million worth of cryptocurrency and electronic devices.
Property believed to be proceeds of crime, including a $40,000 diamond ring, were also seized.
At a press conference on Thursday, police showcased several of the confiscated items, including an encrypted laptop and pictures of opioids commonly referred to as nitazenes.
Financial and Cybercrime Investigation Branch officer in charge Detective Superintendent Adam Rice said nitazene was “highly toxic” and users were at high risk of overdose.
He said the drugs allegedly discovered in the raid were believed to be the largest seizure of nitazene in Australia to date.
Police seized a large quantity of drugs from an Adelaide Hills residence. Credit: SAPOLA diamond ring valued at $40,000 was also seized. Credit: SAPOL
At least one person in South Australia has died from a nitazene overdose earlier this year, Rice said.
Researchers say the drug is much more dangerous than other synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
“People who overdosed on nitazenes typically needed two or more doses of the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, whereas those who overdosed on fentanyl typically only needed one dose,” neuropharmacologist Professor Colin Davidson said in a recent article.
The 25-year-old has been remanded in custody since his arrest on Wednesday, September 20, and is due to appear in court on Friday October 6.
Rice warned other alleged criminals that detectives were operating on the dark web.
“You are not anonymous on the dark web. Police are investigating online platforms and will continue to bring people before the courts for criminal offending in these environments,” he said.
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