NCB raids: NCB arrests 22 in connection to darknet drug network collapse after pan-India raids

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) said it caught 22 people, including software engineers, a financial analyst, an MBA graduate, a doctor and one of its own employees, as it busted a pan- -Indian drug smuggler who used the darknet and traded in cryptocurrency to maintain anonymity.

“In a four-month operation, NCB arrested 22 people between the ages of 18 and 35, seized Rs 22.5 lakh and recorded over Rs 2 crore in crypto revenue,” Gyaneshwar Singh said on Saturday. , Deputy Managing Director of NCB, to the media.

The alleged kingpin of the group has been identified as Raghunath Kumar, believed to be the author of the “Gita of the darknet” and who operated from Bellary prison in Karnataka, according to the Central Narcotics Agency.

Agencies

Kumar, he said, went by the aliases @shoppersstop and @Guruji, while his partners in crime were Jasbir Singh aka @theoptimusprime and @thekaliyuga, and Shradha Surana, who went by the aliases @bansky, @pizahat, @stevehydes and @ trippylane on the dark net.

Surana reportedly managed the cartel’s finances and was responsible for payments to foreign vendors using cryptocurrency, while payments from potential consumers were received via UPI transfers.

The darknet refers to hidden computer networks with restricted access that are increasingly used by those seeking to evade the law. The defendants were inspired by the popular Netflix series “Narcos” and “Breaking Bad”, according to NCB.

The alleged cartel ran three different darknet drug syndicates, including The Orient Express, a Telegram-based group with 300 members, and DRED, a dark web page to examine the ratings and internal performance of India-based drug traffickers. Foreign vendors have used the rating for authentication and sourcing, and the India-based web platform Dark Net Market to sell or buy drugs and to locate vendors and buyers, NCB said.

Various actors involved

The drugs were smuggled into India from countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Poland through couriers and the India Post network, the agency said. For door-to-door delivery to users, he said, the defendant used construction workers from Amazon, Swiggy and Zomato.

“Flaws in the courier and postal system made it easy for traffickers to deliver drugs to doorsteps,” Singh said. “The names of the courier services were misused to send narcotics in carefully packed boxes containing items such as toys, stationery or daily use goods.”

Untitled-3Agencies

NCB said Krunal and Dixita Golwala became part of the drugs ring after the national Covid-induced lockdown imposed in March 2020 led to the closure of the couple’s bakery business.

Kunal, whose online identity was @fluffy, @theamazonedelivery and @masalacoke, and Dixita. who used names like @Phoebesmagic, were found to be in possession of a huge amount of multiple drugs, according to NCB.

The names of some small but active sellers have also surfaced in the defendant’s statements. MBBS student Aditya Reddy from Bengaluru and call center worker Devesh Vasa from Kolkata were apprehended and drugs were seized in their possession, the agency said.

First tracks

The NCB operation began after a seizure in West Bengal, during which 44 parcels were identified at a post office in Kolkata. The trail led to Sarvo, better known as @AuntiMaria on the darknet platform and active in NCR. He was apprehended and questioning revealed that he had paid Rs 6 lakh via cryptocurrency to a certain Jasbir Singh for the drugs.

“They used social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, Snapchat, Wickr Me to place drug orders and used India Post, Swiggy, Gini, Wefast (now Borzo), Porter as delivery partners,” said said the deputy director of the NCB. General Singh.

Jasbir Singh was arrested in Kolkata after which he bribed an NCB official to help him contact his girlfriend, Niyanta, according to the agency.

Final arrests

After Jasbir Singh’s interrogation, NCB arrested Surana, who worked for a multinational company in Kolkata. The joint interrogation of the two led to the arrest of Raghunath Kumar, who was already being held in Bellary Jail in connection with another drug case. Kumar was also an active reviewer, reviewer of sellers on the platform and influencer of seller selling, NCB said.

He said simultaneous raids in Surat, Pune, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Darjeeling, Delhi, Ghaziabad, Ranchi and Guwahati led to the arrest of other gang members including businessmen, bakery owners, artists, musicians and school dropouts. “All of the defendants were tech-savvy, experienced a thrill from dodging police, had troubled childhoods or family issues, and were heavily influenced by Western culture,” Singh said.


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