A Townsville man has pleaded guilty to buying Methylamphetamine from dark web markets.
He told the court that he did so to avoid dishonest dealers who pretend to be selling legitimate drugs but are only intending to steal from oblivious customers.
The Arrest of Bruno Talora
Bruno Franco Talora is the man behind the unfolding story which has been on court record for more than a year. At the time of arrest, Talora’s car was searched, where drugs hidden in a coffee bean packet were seized.
The drugs were found packaged inside an Australian Post Packaging, which he is thought to have used for deliveries. After a detailed investigation, the street value of the seized drugs was said to vary between $13,000 and $22,000.
Talora pled guilty to all of the charges filed against him in front of the federal court where his case was presented. This rose suspicions that he was just playing mind games to divert the attention of the case from his arrest to that of unscrupulous drug vendors.
However, Talora denied allegations that he intended to sell the drugs he was caught in possession of, claiming that the drugs that he had were all for his personal use.
When the police officers raided his home back in 2015, they were able to find documents containing instructions for producing marijuana, psychedelic drugs, methylamphetamine (‘Ice’) and MDMA.
This was a confirmation to the investigators that Talora was dealing in different kind of drugs and likely had the intent of trafficking them. It wasn’t until then that the police arrested Talora with all the evidence needed to file a case against him.
Drugs Bought from the Dark Web
According to Talora, he opted to use dark web markets to buy his drugs because many people who are selling fake drugs have emerged. This is a trend that most online scammers have taken advantage of to get money out of unsuspecting buyers.
However, due to law enforcement crackdowns, most vendors who operate on the dark web markets and other forums have devised new methods to reach their customers.
Many of these vendors have started using social media platforms to communicate, including ICQ, Jabber and others which offer a level of encryption between the parties involved, though this is a tactic used by scammers as well.
It has seen the growth of illegal businesses as it provides direct contact with customers and the sellers are significantly upheld.
Dark Web Scams Have Become Prevalent
There are speculations of law enforcement luring dark web users to do business with them and later arrest them.
This has been confirmed after various dark web users have been arrested in the recent past for buying and selling illegal goods and services in association with undercover officers.
In the confusion, new forums have been coming up where users are offering the same services that can be found on the dark web markets. In the process, opportunistic scammers step in to offer similar services or goods to the customers, but don’t deliver as promised.
One of the standard policies in protecting customers and the sellers when making dark web transactions is the use of an escrow. This is a form of third party involvement in the deal by holding the money before service delivery.
Due to the high level of professional trust between customers and vendors gained over time and experience, scammers create accounts similar to those of the real seller, effectively impersonating them.
Talora Used the Dark Web to Avoid Scammers
Talora told the court that he learned of Methylamphetamine back in 2012 while he was working in a mine and earning up to $200,000 a year. Since he bought large quantities of Methylamphetamine from the dark web, the judge inquired as to why he bought such amounts if not to distribute them.
To the judge’s surprise, Talora’s reasoning was that he did not want to buy drugs from “bad, stupid” dealers. This explanation was not conveyed well to the jury, however, leaving them to conclude that his intention was to later sell the drugs locally.
Methylamphetamine, popularly known as Ice, is a synthetic chemical substance used by many people for recreational purposes. It is a powerful stimulant that affects users’ nerves, and is greatly attributed to negative impacts on the body’s health. Some of the known effects include hallucination, the inability to sleep, dizziness, talkativeness, sweating, fever, skin rash and reduced sexual desires.
According to Crown Prosecutor Nathan Crane, Talora is merely a liar and a witness without credit. To the contrary, Justice David North ruled that the drug possession which Franco Talora was charged with was not commercial in nature.
This saw Talora given a sixteen-month jail sentence, where he will later be eligible for parole – a stark contrast to what the sentence would have been if he were found guilty of possession with the intent to distribute.
At the moment, Talora will continue enjoying his time in jail until his sentence is over and be an example to many people acting following the same steps he took. It is advisable for potential dark web customers to do their due diligence about scams and local laws, else they may end up in Talora’s situation.