NSW Police claim new online prowess after drug busts

Dope sold on social media and classified ads sites

Police in the Australian State of New South Wales (NSW) claim to have cuffed 21 people they allege were trading illicit substances “via classified advertising websites, social media platforms and the ‘dark web.’”

The force aren't saying just which sites or services were used to deal methylamphetamine, cannabis, LSD, cocaine, MDMA and GHB that “Strike Force Oadby” was able to seize, but say they now have their hands on AUD$32,000 (US$23,500 or £14,952) worth of the stuff, plus lots of cash and stolen goods.

NSW Police have detailed three arrests and say a further 18 people have been arrested for “drug-related offences.” It's unclear if those arrests are related, so it's therefore hard to understand if Strike Force Oadby has blocked a new Silk Road or taken down some small time operators who thought they'd found a new route to market.

Whatever the truth of the matter, detective chief inspector Stuart Bell said the operation “represents an important step forward for the NSW Police in our resolve to combat this emerging trend.”

“This operation sends a clear message to people who believe they can avoid police detection, that we will continue to target the supply of illegal drugs using various methods, whether that is online or within the community,” he added, perhaps hinting at increased online policing capabilities.

AU$32,00 is not a colossal haul: in late 2014, NSW Police intercepted a shipment of 1,917 kilograms of MDMA and 849 kilograms of methamphetamine. That haul, said to be worth AUD$1.5 billion on the street. ®

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