The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Sunday arrested a drug trafficker who allegedly used darknet to ship hundreds of psychotropic drug parcels abroad in the garb of sex stimulation medicines.
Darknet refers to the deep hidden internet platform that is used for exchange of pornographic content, selling or brokering transactions involving drugs, cyber-arms, weapons, counterfeit currency, stolen credit card details, forged documents, unlicensed pharmaceuticals, steroids and other illicit goods using the secret alleys of the the onion router (ToR) to stay away from the surveillance of law enforcement agencies.
The NCB arrested one Dipu Singh, 21, who was operating this network as an active vendor of psychotropic drugs on Darknet markets.
“Dipu is a major player on the darknet. His listings were found in one of the biggest and reliable darknet markets like Empire Market and Majestic Garden,” NCB Deputy Director General (operations) Rajesh Nandan Srivastava said.
Dipu was arrested by the central anti-narcotics agency under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act after raids were conducted at his residence in Lucknow’s Alam Bagh area.
Dipu initially began with shipping medicines related to erectile dysfunction and fitness supplements to overseas locations using the dark internet facility, but later shifted to transacting in psychotropic drugs under this garb seeing the profit margin in this illegal trade, the DDG added.
Dipu had completed his Bachelor of Hotel Management from Amity University, Lucknow in 2019. In 2018, he came in contact with one person who was already engaged in internet pharmacy and offered him a part time job.
Singh initially began with shipping medicines related to erectile dysfunction and fitness supplements to overseas locations using the dark internet facility, but later shifted to transacting in psychotropic drugs under this garb seeing the profit margin in this illegal trade, NCB said.
Singh had “mastered the technique to disguise identity while making a shipment”, the NCB said in a statment.
While 12,000 tablets of various psychotropic drugs were seized from his residence, the NCB alleges Dipu is a “mastermind” of hundreds of drug parcels clandestinely couriered to countries like the USA, UK, Romania, Spain and some european nations using the dark web.
A total of 55,000 psychotropic tablets that includes tramadol, zolpidem, alprazolam have been seized as part of this two-month-long operation that was conducted with cooperation from international agencies, NCB Delhi zonal director K P S Malhotra said.
Some other seizures in this case were made in Mumbai and the UK too.
The NCB was part of a global ‘Operation Trance’, launched in December last year, entailing a joint intelligence gathering action on international postal, express mail and courier shipments containing psychotropic drugs (which can only be purchased on a doctor’s prescription) that are abused as sedatives and painkillers.
The latest darknet ring was unearthed as part of this operation, which has international linkages and is spread across Singapore and the US and services of global post offices and international couriers were used as logistics for the illicit trade, Srivastava said.
“The payment gateways of cryptocurrency like Bitcoins and Litecoin were used by the operators to conceal the transactions from regulatory agencies,” the NCB DDG said.
The orders were procured from darknet and routed through various wicker identities, WhatsApp and some business-to-business platforms.
The investigation in the case is ongoing as the NCB is looking at the links of Singh and others associated with him, Malhotra said.
(With PTI inputs)