A years-long investigation led to the arrest of three men who allegedly ran an international “dark web” drug trafficking ring out of Nanaimo, British Columbia.
Cops say they launched an undercover investigation into an online drug seller called “AlwaysOverweight” in early 2019.
Police said the AlwaysOverweight account trafficked large amounts of drugs, including methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA, oxycodone, Xanax and what was listed as heroin, but which was actually fentanyl mixed with cutting agents.
Constables say the account was using encrypted messaging apps and dealing in cryptocurrency to try to remain anonymous.
FIND THE SOURCE
The RCMP describes the dark web as the “hidden third layer” of the internet, after the commonly used “open web” and the second layer of the “deep web”.
The dark web forces users to use special internet browsers that hide their internet protocol (IP) addresses, such as the Tor browser, according to the RCMP.
Police say they were able to “penetrate the criminal group’s digital barriers” and identify an address in Nanaimo, British Columbia, as the physical location of the dark web dealer.
About a year after the investigation began, on February 4, 2020, RCMP arrested three suspects and executed search warrants at two Nanaimo homes.
Police seized a variety of items during the searches, including a range of drugs, drug wrappers, cash, computers, data storage devices, assorted documents and postal envelopes.
Some of the captured objects are displayed. (RCMP COSF)
The three arrested men – Kien Trung Pham, Gordon Brooks and Kerry Chang – face a series of drug trafficking charges.
Pham faces 11 counts of trafficking a controlled substance and four counts of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.
Meanwhile, Brooks faces seven counts of trafficking in controlled substances and another seven counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Chang was charged with one count of trafficking in a controlled substance.
The trio are scheduled to appear in Nanaimo Provincial Court on June 7.
“This is a great example of our ability to quickly adapt and adjust our investigative techniques to respond to the dynamic and rapidly changing world of cybercrime,” said Superintendent Richard Bergevin, Officer in Charge of Police BC RCMP Federal – Major Projects.
“The dark web is just one of the tools organized crime uses to avoid detection, so police must continually evolve their technical capabilities to stem the flow of toxic drugs into our communities,” he said. -he declares.