Dark web drug trafficker Joel Prime, 32, has pleaded guilty to running a drug dealing operation online.
He was first arrested last year after police found him attempting to mail the drugs using a post office box in Port Neill, Eyre Peninsula—only 82km near his parents’ home.
The agent on the case said that hundreds of illegal drugs were recovered including ecstasy, hallucinogens, narcotics, methamphetamine, among others.
Some items in the drug supply are uncommon in the Eyre Peninsula region of southern Australia.
Prime faced more than 20 state and federal charges for using virtual currency—particularly Bitcoin—to run his drug trafficking business on the dark web.
The charges include more than 10 counts of trafficking controlled drugs, plus additional drug-related charges.
In March, before admitting to the state charges, Prime pleaded guilty to a federal charge of importing and exporting a border-controlled substance.
In the court, the prosecutor termed the offence complicated, as part of it involved dark web sites and Bitcoin. The fine details of evidence could not be easily obtained.
However, the evidence that investigators had already collected was enough for a drug trafficking case.
A joint operation between the Australian Border Authority and Port Lincoln law enforcement was launched to investigate what they referred to as a “sophisticated trafficking operation.” The investigation began nearly two years ago when they discovered that illegal drugs had been smuggled inside DVDs, later to be sent through the mail.
This was after another package had been seized in Adelaide.
Investigators later tracked the origin to Poland. After the detectives narrowed in on Prime as a main suspect, they raided his parent’s home and found more illegal drugs, packaging material and an equipped testing laboratory.
In the recent court hearing, it was established that Prime would face a minimum of 10 years in prison or a fine of $350,000 after pleading guilty.
The judge has set a sentencing date to March 2018.
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