A drug trafficking syndicate that was operating over the darknet has been busted by Narcotics Control Bureau. The syndicate was being operated using internet pharmacy with 9 websites registered at various locations including Delhi, UP, Uttarakhand in India and having tentacles in USA, UK, Canada, and the Philippines.
The destination of the consignments were primarily to USA, UK, Europe, and other countries. The major share of transactions was being made using multi crypto-currencies and bitcoin.
Several bank accounts that were opened outside the country are being investigated. A total of 37 seizures took place including 22 lakh psychotropic tablets like Tramadol and 245 kg psychotropic drugs.
A pharmaceutical manufacturing company which is based in Haridwar and was involved in this network has already been exposed.
As part of their operations, herbal supplement packages were being used to disguise and conceal the contrabands. The digital forensics reveal orders to the tune of Rs 1 lakh has already been shipped out using this module.
The Narcotics Control Bureau launched a special drive against psychotropic drugs trafficking especially those using the Darknet and internet pharmacy route.
The operation which is currently underway has led to a seizure of 22 Lakhs of psychotropic drugs, 70,000 Codeine Based Cough Syrups (CBCS) and 245 Kg of psychotropic drugs including the arrest of eight persons.
Raids were conducted in various parts of Delhi-NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. This module has a modus operandi of getting the orders through Darknet market host, websites, internet pharmacy and the same were being delivered through the dedicated shippers to create anonymity between the receiver of the order and logistic persons.
The investigation so far was based on the specific input that a trafficking network is involved in the exportation of Psychotropic drugs from India to various parts of the world, few consignments were seized and the same were backtracked.
During the investigation, it was unearthed that the shippers are primarily in Delhi-NCR and who were using fake identities.
Based on the backtrack investigation, one of the shippers K Aggarwal resident to Agra was identified and arrested. He disclosed that he get drugs supply from one of the suppliers in Agra.
Based on his interrogation and technical evidence, A Goyal was arrested from Agra. The arrest of Goyal led to the startling fact that they were getting the psychotropic drugs from a Haridwar-based pharmaceutical company, which is involved in legal production and in that garb, was diverting these psychotropic drugs.
Raid was conducted in Haridwar at the premises of the said pharmaceutical company and their distribution center based in Agra. The masterminds of this syndicate were identified following which raids were conducted to nab them.
They were identified as A Sharma and P Sharma, who have been arrested.
Their associates J Prasad and G Kumar who were providing them logistic support in maintaining their websites, Darknet sites, order list maintenance and managing the delivery of the parcels/couriers have also been arrested.
They have their counterparts/associates in USA and Canada, which are under probe.
They were using various websites to attract clients/drug abusers in USA and other countries. They had listed these websites out of India and all the footprints of these websites were cleverly camouflaged by using outside India IP addresses.
For the financial transactions, they had maintained international accounts based outside India.
To gain the confidence of the clients, who were primarily based in North America, the accused had opened these accounts in those territories.
Further, they were listed as vendors on Darknet also and accepted payment in the form of multiple cryptocurrencies like bitcoins.
From the investigation conducted so far, it has been revealed that they had shipped multiple orders/parcels to various countries including USA, UK, Canada and Philippines.
The digital forensics is reflecting figures around a lakh of such orders, which are being backtracked.
The Syndicate members are very tech-savvy. They were using VOIP methods for surveillance of drug law enforcement agencies.
The operation was conducted over a period of two months and raids were conducted at various hides-outs.
NCB acknowledged the role Kuldeep Sharma, AD/DZU, Supdt. Dhananjay Some, IOs Ashutosh Pandey, Neeraj Kumar, Manish, JIOs Ajeet Singh and support team. Meanwhile, further investigation in the case is underway.
It is noteworthy to mention that today is the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking which is observed as United Nations International Day against the ills of drug abuse and the illegal drug trade.
It is observed annually on June 26 every year, since 1989. Based on the recommendations of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, the UN General Assembly on December 7, 1987 passed a resolution to observe the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking every year on June 26.