As internet users around the globe are increasingly accessing dark web platforms, law enforcement agencies are turning their focus to illicit activities facilitated by this hidden part of the internet.
The latest of dark web related arrests have taken place in Austria.
According to reports, Austrian law enforcement agencies have arrested six individuals following a dark web investigation.
The six suspects have been charged with operating an e-commerce platform that deals in narcotics.
The individuals placed under arrest in Branau am Inn, and ages range from 17 and 40 years.
The investigation into the dark web vendors took several months.
Official court documents state that the two main suspects are 29 and 31.
According to Austrian authorities, the suspects used several locations in Branau as shipping grounds.
This was done in order to avoid traceability and conceal their orders.
The reports also indicate that they were able to make deliveries to international clients.
According to Austrian police, there is evidence the two main suspects dealt a total of 4 kg. of marijuana via the dark web.
After conducting house searches of the suspected vendors, law enforcement authorities discovered a collection of various narcotics and arms.
The narcotics included half a kilogram of amphetamines, heroin, cocaine, 150 grams of Methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA/Ecstasy), ketamine, and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
The arms included handguns, a machete, and other restricted weapons.
Police information indicates that the majority of the narcotics were purchased by clients within the Branau district.
The two main suspects were arrested by Austrian law enforcement authorities while they were dealing with the drugs.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office in Ried im Innkreis ordered the suspects to be moved to the Reid Prison following their arrest.
Several customers, accomplices, and suppliers will be summoned to court in accordance with the country’s Weapons Act and Narcotic Drugs Act.
Just a month ago, two Austrians aged 18 and 19 were detained in Ried im Innkreis after being accused of purchasing large amounts of narcotics from the dark web.
According to police, the duo consumed around 50% of the illegal substances, and sold the rest to various clients.
They operated the business in 2016, marketing the products that included cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana, and ecstasy pills on social media outlets.
According to officials, some of the products might have been dealt to underage individuals.
Seven other suspects believed to be clients were also detained.
These arrests and trails are among a string of arrests within the past 2 years that seem to suggest increased illicit dark web activity in Austria and several other European countries.
News of the arrests in Branau am Inn follow a dark web related trial in Germany earlier this month.
Three suspects accused of drug trafficking stood trial at the Mainz Regional Court.
The two main suspects, a 31-year-old man from Bavaria and his father, utilized the dark web to deal with narcotics including amphetamines, crystalline methamphetamine, an abundant amount of ecstasy pills, and hash.
The third suspect was accused of purchasing large amounts of narcotics including 1.9 kilograms of amphetamines and 250 ecstasy pills from the vendor pair.
This case touched on the methods used by law enforcement agencies to obtain evidence for the investigation.
The defense argued that investigative agencies employed illegal investigation methods.
The authorities behind this dark web investigation included The Regional Center for Cybercrime, the Customs Investigation Office of Frankfurt, and the Mainz Investigative Group of the Landeskriminalamt.
Although dark web enabled crime seems to be on the rise, these arrests indicate that law enforcement agencies are making headway in addressing this emerging internet age problem.