The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Serious and Organized Crime (SOC) unit based in Toronto has arrested three individuals for allegedly trafficking drugs via the dark web.
Other persons also arrested in the sting were couriers as well as vendor operators they allegedly used to run their business.
Upon investigation, two search warrants were executed, and the RCMP seized a variety of drugs believed to be MDMA, cocaine and heroin. Additionally, computers and materials required to run the operation, a pill pressing machine, two assault rifles, 10 handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were also recovered.
Two Individuals Get Formally Charged
Two of three persons arrested were charged and are to remain in custody awaiting arraignment in court.
Marko Shkinly, 23, from Mississauga, is being charged with possession to traffic a controlled substance, trafficking of a controlled substance contrary to Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, as well as operating a vehicle without the required papers.
The second person was Darius Jankaitis, 23, from Toronto. He is also being charged with the trafficking of a controlled substance, possession with intent of trafficking a controlled substance, possession of a restricted & prohibited weapon, and abuse of a firearm & ammunition.
The third person, a female aged 22, was released after she agreed to make her court appearance scheduled for January 9. Her identity is yet to be revealed or what role she played in the trafficking operations.
The pseudonym used for the vendor or which dark web marketplace used is also unknown due to the fact that investigations are still ongoing.
However, it is alleged that the vendor has sold several drugs which included fentanyl (a synthetic opioid), MDMA, ketamine, cocaine and methamphetamine. It is believed that the dealer sold to both Canadians and international customers, and is responsible for hundreds of illegal drug transactions.
Inspector Gord Cobey, who leads the RCMP SOC in West Toronto, commended the investigating team for their work and dedication to the operation.
He stated that the agency will persist in its efforts to halt any criminal activities that involve drug trafficking through the dark web.
The RCMP, in conjunction with municipal police force partners, has stated on several occasions that the drug trade in some Canadian cities has shifted to the dark web.
Research has shown that Canada has played a role in this international trend since it was among the countries with the most significant number of vendors on the now-defunct AlphaBay marketplace.
Researchers found that about 95 vendors out of nearly 2,200 vendors, or 4 percent, shipped from Canada, surpassing countries like China and France, while the United States topped the list.
A Never-Ending Game
Critics have pointed out that such takedowns aren’t enough to stop the growth of darknet markets or their popularity. Some have alleged that the media attention given to dark web busts fuels their popularity, in turn promoting traffic to the platforms.
This has forced authorities to deploy new tactics to root out anonymous marketplaces. However, new darknet markets pop up with new or existing dealers replacing the ones taken down.
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