• Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Narcotics Control Bureau busts major darknet-based LSD smuggling syndicate

Narcotics Control Bureau busts major darknet-based LSD smuggling syndicate

In a major breakthrough, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has made the largest seizure of LSD, a psychedelic drug also known as acid, in the last two decades and arrested six members of a syndicate with links to countries like the United States, the Netherlands and Poland.

The drug seized included 14,961 LSD and 2.23 kg of curated cannabis (imported) from the international brand “Gamagoblin/Holy Spirit of Assur”. The accused, including a girl, were arrested during simultaneous raids in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. They used the darknet to collect goods and cryptocurrencies for financial transactions.

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NCB Deputy Director General (Northern Range) Dyaneshwar Singh said that the agency has been working from various angles for long to identify and dismantle syndicates whose members were in touch with each other through social media platforms. During the previous major operation against a darknet-based drug syndicate in 2021, it registered 47 cases and arrested 40 accused, dismantling three darknet/social media drug markets.

The agency received new inputs about dealers in LSD, which is being distributed using courier and postal service channels. To track the culprits, a Special Investigation Team was formed under the Delhi Zonal Unit and intensive technical and field surveillance operations were launched. The team zeroed in on a young man from Goa, a student of a Noida-based private university.

During questioning, he revealed that he had been ordering LSD through a private messaging application called “Wicker”. Subsequently, a vendor operating through the same platform was identified. On May 29, the man was arrested with 15 LSD blots in Delhi. He was trying to courier medicine to a client in Kashmir. The agency seized 650 additional blots from the seller’s residence.

In his instance, the NCB arrested a Delhi-based girl who was using a virtual identity to avoid detection. Although nothing was recovered from him, his revelations helped the agency track down his accomplice in Jaipur, Rajasthan. He was arrested on 30 May and 9,006 LSD blots, 2.23 kg of curated ganja and over ₹ 4.65 lakh in cash were seized from his house.

The Jaipur-based seller ordered LSD blots on the dark web and via Wicker. During interrogation, he allegedly revealed that a large consignment was to be delivered to an address in Pimpri-Chinchwadin, Pune. The narcotics containing 5,006 blots were seized at the India Post Office in Bhosari. In follow-up action, two other accused were arrested in Noida and another in Kerala.

LSD is an odorless, colorless and tasteless drug. It can be drawn on small squares of paper that people lick or swallow. “There has been a trend of the young tech-savvy generation getting involved in drug trafficking using digital platforms, darknet and darkweb, and the use of cryptocurrency and virtual identity is alarming…,” said an agency official, adding that the NCB had recently organized a “Darkthon” to find solutions.

Earlier, the agency had identified darknet platforms like DNM India, Dread and a Telegram group called “The Orient Express” and also traced drug smugglers using pseudonyms. “All verified sellers of the Telegram group were arrested. They included group owners, co-owners and administrators. Vendors are from West Bengal, Gujarat, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh. Many of them were also professionals. The drugs are being procured from the US, Netherlands, Poland, UK and Canada,” the official said.

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