European Authorites Seize $5.2 Million in Crypto in LSD Darknet Haul
The global war against darknet marketplaces continues as Europol, the European Union’s highest ranking law enforcement agency, worked with Spanish and Austrian law enforcement to head up Europe’s largest LSD bust ever, taking down a darknet operation that spanned multiple countries across the continent.
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Europol: No Darknet Acid on Our Watch
Europol has released a statement revealing that nearly 800,000 doses of LSD were confiscated, along with 100 different types of “New Psychoactive Substances,” or NPS, in the body’s latest bust. The valuation of the confiscated “acid” totaled over $14 million USD. Millions in fiat, vehicles, and real estate were also seized, and eight individuals were arrested accordingly.
The specific market names were not listed. The darknet sites used by patrons were said to be invite-only. Per Europol:
“The organised crime group offered the synthetic drugs exclusively through Darknet webpages where access was restricted to previously invited users redirected from forums. Two of the webpages managed by the organisation enjoyed a great reputation, being the most known and exclusive worldwide in this field.”
Tallying the Haul
The majority of the cryptocurrency seized in Europol’s LSD bust was bitcoin. IOTA and Stellar Lumens were also among the coins taken.
The operation centered around a laboratory in Amsterdam, where the manufacturing of various illegal substances took place. The finished products were then shipped to Spain, from where they were packaged and shipped to buyers. Europol specifies “additives for cement” as one of the camouflaging methods which were used for securing shipments. Customers were served in over 100 different countries.
In addition to LSD and NPS, other substances that were sold and distributed by the undisclosed group included “synthetic cannabinoids, depressants, dissociatives, stimulants such as amphetamines or cathinones, nootropics, psychedelics and synthetic opiates [..],” the latter of which Europol noted are “a grave problem in developed countries like the USA.”
The investigative methods used to uncover the operation were not immediately publicized. However, with the use of parallel construction being a strong possibility in past darknet market arrests, such as those linked to the Silk Road and AlphaBay, the truth of what happened may never be fully known to the public.
The listed $5.2 million haul in crypto is worth even more as of today, given bitcoin’s jump of about $500 USD in the last 24 hours. It rested at just below $6400 at the time of press.
What’s your take? Do you think more darknet busts are coming? Sound off in the comments below.
Images via Imgur, So Bad So Good