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Cybercrime ‘Darknet’ drug traffickers arrested in Switzerland

The anonymity and secrecy of darknet websites make them attractive tools for conducting illicit transactions. 

(Keystone)

Three Swiss men suspected of selling large amounts of illicit drugs via ‘darknet’ sites have been arrested following a police investigation launched last summer.

The three men were identified and arrested by police from the northern Swiss canton of Aargau, one year after an investigation was launched by the canton’s public prosecutor.

The first man, aged 28, is suspected of selling large quantities of amphetamines, marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and LSD over the ‘darknet’ – an anonymous and restricted sector of the internet that is not indexed by search engines like Google.

Aargau officials said in a statement released on Tuesday that police data specialists tracked down the suspect by decrypting data they found on his darknet sales webpage.

That investigation also led the police to another suspected online drug trafficker: a 36-year-old Swiss man who allegedly sold and delivered significant quantities of marijuana to clients across Switzerland. He has also been arrested.

Finally, data specialists used the darknet to identify a third Swiss man, aged 50, who also allegedly sold marijuana in large quantities. During a search of his house, police discovered an indoor cannabis growing operation.

The darknet, or darkweb, is a part of the internet that is inaccessible via regular means, such as search engines, without special authorisation or software. Its restricted nature and the anonymity of its users makes it a common venue for sales of drugs, weapons and other illegal merchandise.

swissinfo.ch and agencies/cl

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