Darknet drugs: Bangalore MBBS student, fashion designer, financial consultant among 22 arrested

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An MBBS student from Bengaluru, a freelance fashion designer, an aspiring psychiatrist, a YouTuber and a multinational financial analyst are among 22 youths from 11 states arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in connection with a A pan-Indian drug trafficking ring operating on the darknet, a senior official said on Saturday.

The arrests came following a four-month operation that began with a case from the Kolkata Zonal Unit and developed by the Delhi Zonal Unit, culminating in searches in several locations including Surat, Pune , Bengaluru, Kolkata, Darjeeling, Delhi, Ghaziabad, Ranchi and Guwahati.

Apart from MBBS student Aditya Reddy from Bengaluru, two other people were arrested in the capital of Karnataka during the operation – Raghunath Kumar who went through @shoppersstop and @Guruji and is known as “LSD King ” on the darknet and already arrested by the Karnataka police in a drug case, and a Mohd Aslam, considered one of the masterminds.

With this, three darknet drug markets – DNM India, Dread and The Orient Express – have been shut down. The traffickers used virtual identities with other providers on the darknet. The DNM India is a web-based platform for selling or buying drugs, locating suppliers and buyers as well as rating product quality while Dread was a dark web page for rating reviews and the internal performance evaluation of drug traders in India and The Orient Express, a Telegram group. with 300 members.

The USP of the traffic was “anonymity” of buyers and sellers on the network, investigators said.

“Almost all of the defendants were in their youth (20-35 years old) and there are professionals such as engineers, doctors, financial consultants, businessmen, artists such as musicians, school dropouts almost all of them were tech-savvy, felt elated to dodge the police and had troubled childhoods or family issues,” NCB (Northern Region) Deputy Director General Gyaneshwar Singh said.

“The drugs were advertised as a restaurant menu in their consumer circles with attractive offers. Escrow agreements were offered to gain consumer trust,” he said.

Unique aspects of the modus operandi employed by the racketeer included single-use crypto wallets, professional packaging, concealment in articles and use of India Post and courier services, advertising on the Telegram group, apps Instagram and Wickrme, fake addresses, owner verified providers. / co-owner, no principle of cheating or fraud, he says.

Some of the phones seized by investigators turned out to be customized for the darknet, using the customized mobile operating system which allegedly hides the IP address and identity. Several identifiers were found in mobile phones. These IDs transmitted drug packages to customers and accepted payments via PayTM, Cryptocurrency, UPI transfer and several other modes, Singh said.

One of the arrested Jasbir Singh also allegedly took the help of a Delhi NCB staff member to contact his girlfriend in Kolkata and made her destroy her gadgets with the help of her aunt. The BCN took the help of the NDRF to retrieve it later.

Officials also claimed that Jasbir was “rough” towards the girls after he induced drugs into them. He blackmailed them with their photos and videos and implicated them in drug trafficking.

A multinational financial consultant, Shradha Surana, known as @thebansky, @pizahat, @stevehydes and @trippylanes on the darknet platform, reportedly assisted Jasbir with financial management and address organization for the importation of medicines from abroad. She also allegedly sold drugs.

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