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'Darknet' Drug Seizure Dublin 5th Nov 2014

As a result of an international drug trafficking investigation into the sale and supply of controlled drugs on an encrypted layer of the internet known as the Darknet an Irish vendor was identified in recent weeks. Surveillance and enquiries carried out by the Garda National Drug Unit identified a secure premises on South Circular Road, Dublin 8 where it was believed this drug distribution operation was based.

At 1.40pm on the 5th of November 2014 members from the Garda National Drug Unit, the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB)and the Computer Crime Investigation Unit (CCIU) searched this premises. During the course of the search Ecstasy tablets (MDMA), Lysergic Acid (LSD) and other controlled drugs to value €180,000 was seized.

Two men in their 30s were arrested at the scene. They are detained at Kevin Street and Kilmainham Garda stations under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996.

A critical part of this operation was preservation of data on encrypted computers which related to the worldwide distribution of controlled drugs from this premises in Dublin 8. With the invaluable assistance of the CAB and CCIU a number of computers were safely retrieved with accessible information immediately at the time of entry on this search. At this time analysis is continuing with regard to storage of electro currency (Bitcoin) and CAB have already seized certain currency assets.

A follow up search in Harolds Cross, Dublin 6 resulted in further small seizure of controlled drugs and documentation in relation to off shore bank accounts in Switzerland, Belize, Poland and a number of other countries. The financial investigation in relation to this investigation is continuing with new information still coming to light at this time.

An international day of action to disrupt global activity on the Darknet and remove certain websites and forums is to conclude within the next 24 hours under the FBI/Europol operation codenamed Onymous. The fact that such a significant vendor has been arrested in the presence of an encrypted but open computer with address lists for customers all over the world will be of significant interest to many global law enforcement agencies who specialise in Darknet investigations.