Dark web drugs network broken up by Customs and police

Authorities estimate that €350,000 sales of illegal drugs and prescription pharmaceuticals were made by this operation via the Silk Road tor network in Finland.

File picture of seized pharmaceuticals / Credit: Finnish Customs

Finnish Customs and the National Bureau of Investigation have broken up what they describe as a “large-scale” drugs network which imported and distributed illegal pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs between 2017 and 2020.

Investigators say the sales took place mainly on the dark web Tor network, with the drugs arriving in Finland by post before being sent to customers across the country.

“Significant amounts of drugs were seized by customs and police, both from the post office and through home searches. In addition, on the basis of the seized server data of the Silkkitie [Silk Road] store operating in the Tor network, we were able to find out all the sales to customers from 2017 to 2019” says Pekka Jauhola, Director of Investigations at Finnish Customs.

During their investigation authorities confiscated more than 3,500 different narcotics substances including almost 100,000 tablets; 20 liters of liquid drugs packaged in ampules; and 27,000 prescription drugs tablets, as well as equipment used to make some of the illegal drugs – although authorities believe they confiscated this before it could be put into operational use.

The drugs which were imported to Finland came mainly from the Baltic countries, Romania and Bulgaria, while one large shipment destined for Finland was intercepted by authorities in Germany in autumn 2019.

“The criminal offenses under investigation are quite extensive, almost 20 people have been questioned or detained during the pre-trial investigation, and two more are still in custody. We have also done a lot of international co-operation” says Teemu Mäntyniemi from the National Bureau of Investigation.

The case will be transferred to prosecutors in northern Finland in the near future.

File picture of seized pharmaceuticals / Credit: Finnish Customs