South Korean Police Arrest Darknet Users for Selling Drugs with Cryptocurrency

The police in South Korea arrested nine drug dealers that were taking payments in cryptocurrency.

The South Korean authorities arrested drug dealers who sold their stuff via Darknet and accepted payments in cryptocurrency, the local media outlet Korea Herald reports.

The criminal ring consisted of young men in their 20s and 30s, according to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office. The criminals had their own website set up in the hidden online space for drug trafficking. The site had a community of 636 members and reportedly processed 50 drug sales between March and November 2018.

The website is now closed down by the prosecutors, and its owner, identified by the name of Shin, is detained.

This is the first time the South Korean police managed to reveal and disable a website in the encrypted part of the Internet also known as Darknet, which cannot be accessed via traditional browsers. Since resources located in the Darknet have many layers of encryption and provide anonymity both to their operators and visitors, they require special tools and browsers, like Tor. It makes them harder to identify and block.

The drug dealers planted and distributed marijuana and also sold self-made hashish. Apart from that, they offered hard drugs and psychoactive substances like LSD and MDMA smuggled to South Korea from other countries.

According to the prosecutors, the owner and the operator of the website also smoked weed, which is considered a criminal offense in South Korea.

The dealers used “DarkCoin” for payments. It is a privacy-focused digital coin that makes transactions non-traceable and allows users to stay anonymous. The police discovered the illegal trades when they searched the personal computers and mobile phones of the suspects.

The investigation revealed that the drug dealers mostly trafficked 8-10 million won ($7,000-$9,000). Now the authorities a trying to lock 100 million won ($88,700) generated by the drug sales.

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