Kiwi darknet illegal drug buyers identified during worldwide operation

Kiwi darknet illegal drug buyers identified during worldwide operation

National News

New Zealand Police and Customs have identified and spoken to more than 160 people nationwide for buying illegal drugs via darknet and other illegal sites, with more Police visits to come.

Last week law enforcement agencies around the world took part in Operation Hyperion, a coordinated effort to target buyers and sellers of illegal drugs over the internet.

From October 22 to 28 agencies focused on packages coming through mail centres, and then tracked these back to buyers and sellers.

Manager National High Tech Crime Group Kelly Knight says New Zealand Police and Customs have identified almost 300 people involved in the illegal trade.

“The clear message for people who think they can use the internet to buy illegal drugs and get away with it is that they can’t. These sites are not top secret. Police can view them, and together with Customs we can track packages down to addresses and individuals.”

Among the illegal drugs identified were small amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, alpha PVP, LSD, ecstasy, and cannabis seeds.

Ms Knight says the local operation has so far resulted in six arrests and 66 formal warnings. Several more investigations are in progress with more people yet to be visited.

One person faces 13 importing charges relating to ecstasy, LSD and cannabis.

Under the operation’s banner, Wellington Police have also charged a person in connection with creating the darknet illegal drug site VicUnderworld, which is no longer operating.

A 22 year old male will appear in the Wellington District Court on Friday 4 November.

As well as Police and Customs, Operation Hyperion involved international partners including; Europol; the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency; Australian Federal Police; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Secret Service (USSS); Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada Post and Canada Border Services Agency; The Netherlands; French Customs National Intelligence and Investigations Directorate; Finnish Customs; Swedish Police Authority and Swedish Customs; Ireland’s Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau; and Spain’s Guardia Civil.

ENDS

Issued by Police Media Centre