When the Dutch High Tech Crime UnitÂ took over one of the world’s biggest dark web drug marketplaces, Hansa, they knew they were onto a winner. They were able to monitor anyone who came onto the site and, potentially, start determining their real locations. This week, the Dutch cops claim to have taken outÂ a groupÂ of prolific dark web drug pushers who operated on Hansa. And in doing so, they uncovered an operationÂ they claimÂ involved 3D printing of Nintendo game cases, ink cartridges and fake make-up compacts in which the suspects allegedly hid narcotics so they could be sen undetected around the world, fromÂ Australia and New Zealand to Singapore.
Four suspects – two men aged 32 and 50 from Amsterdam, a 36-year-old woman from the same city, and a 48-year-old male from Werkendam – were apprehended this week, though Dutch police are not revealing their names. Nor are they revealing the amount of Bitcoin in the various wallets they seized. But law enforcement did release a video, showing the inside of the suspects’ properties, where the MAKE 3D printers were still churning away, most likely making the packaging for the drugs, alongside large boxes of multicolored pills.
The Amsterdam suspects were caught red-handed, the police said, as they were logged into their dark web accounts at the time of the arrest. A firearm and three cars were also seized.
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According to law enforcement, the suspects worked together under the name of Doug-Heffernan, which became one of the most prolific sellers on Hansa, pushing cocaine, ecstasy and MDMA, amongst other illicit products. The cops claimed to have found mailing lists belonging to the suspects “on which there are probably thousands of names and addresses of buyers of the past years.”
The police, from the Dutch force to the FBI, aren’t resting on their laurels, despite the astonishing take down of not just Hansa, but AlphaBay, which was the biggest dark web market ever at the time of its closure in 2017. The Dutch unit said it’s been focusing on Dream Market, where it’s been shutting down hard drug shops. In the U.S., just last week the so-called AlphaBay spokesperson, Ronald Wheeler, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit access device fraud for working as a public relations specialist for the Dark Web Marketplace AlphaBay.