South Australia The police arrested a 25-year-old man Adelaide Hills on drug trafficking and money laundering charges, with approximately $1.5 million worth of crypto seized during the operation.
The accused individual operated several seller profiles on the dark web, selling various drugs, according to a Thursday. Australian Broadcasting Corporation report.
One of the drugs seized during the investigation is the synthetic opioid “nitazene”, a substance of great concern due to its high toxicity.
Detective Superintendent Adam Rice highlighted the dangers associated with nitazene, comparing it to fentanyl but noting that it has never been approved for human consumption.
“These are highly toxic drugs, similar to fentanyl, but have never been approved for human consumption and carry a high risk of overdose,” he said.
Police believe the approximately 5 kilograms of nitazene found is the largest amount seized in Australia to date.
In July, SA Health issued warnings about protonitazene after two confirmed overdoses and two suspected cases, including one death where the drug was believed to have played a role.
However, Superintendent Rice clarified that there is currently no evidence linking the alleged dark web seller to the reported death.
SA Police launched an investigation into the dark web seller earlier this year
The investigation into the dark web seller’s activities began earlier this year, with the aim of targeting the illicit online drug trade.
Police successfully traced the cryptocurrency used in the illegal transactions, leading to the identification of a real-life person in South Australia.
In September, law enforcement conducted search and seizure operations at a residential address and two storage units in the Adelaide Hills, resulting in the seizure of a substantial quantity of illicit drugs, cash, cryptocurrency and electronic devices.
According to Superintendent Rice, the accused individual received significant payments in cryptocurrency, with approximately $1.5 million worth of crypto seized during the operation.
In addition, smaller amounts of cash, totaling tens of thousands of dollars, were also seized.
The 25-year-old suspect has been arrested and is expected to appear in court at a later date, South Australian police have confirmed.
Over $330 million in crypto stolen in September
Over the course of September, approximately $332 million had been lost to various exploits, hacks and scams, marking a record month for crypto exploits.
A notable event was the Mixin Network attack on September 23rd.
The Hong Kong-based cross-chain decentralized transfer protocol suffered a substantial breach, resulting in a loss of $200 million due to a breach by its cloud service provider.
Another major incident occurred on September 12, when CoinEx, a cryptocurrency exchange, experienced a suspicious attack following a substantial outflow from four of its hot wallets.
This breach resulted in losses in excess of $53.1 million in hot portfolios.
In a late August report, Web3 bug bounty platform Immunefi claimed that DeFi and crypto platforms have lost more than $1.2 billion to hackers and carpetbaggers so far this year.
The report revealed a total of 211 separate incidents that contributed to this massive amount, and in the month of August alone, it accounted for $23.4 million in losses.