The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Saturday claimed to have busted an international drugs trafficking syndicate with the arrest of eight people and seizure of 22 lakh psychotropic tablets and at least 245 kgs of similar drugs that were being allegedly peddled over the darknet.
The central anti-narcotics agency said the illegal trade was unearthed after multiple raids were carried out by officials of the Delhi zonal unit in the National Capital Region, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh over a two month period.
Dawood Ibrahim's brother Iqbal Kaskar gets one-day NCB custody in drugs case
NCB deputy director (operations) K P S Malhotra said, "22 lakh pyschotropic drugs like Tramadol, 70,000 codeine-based cough syrups and 245 kgs of other category of drugs have been seized till now. A total of eight people have been arrested". The officer, who also heads the NCB's Delhi unit as its zonal director, said the accused deployed the "modus operandi of getting the orders through the darknet, created secret websites and delivered the narcotics items through dedicated shippers to create anonymity between the receiver of the order and the logistics people."
Darknet denotes to a hidden network within the internet that can only be accessed with specific software and tools like the onion router. Digital forensics show that the syndicate has shipped at least one lakh orders to places in the US, UK, Europe and some other countries under the label of herbal supplements, he said.
Malhotra said the agency questioned the arrested accused and found that a good chunk of the psychotropic drugs was being diverted from a Haridwar-based pharmaceutical manufacturing company. The agency also issued a statement to say that the syndicate was spread across Delhi-NCR, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and has links abroad like in the US, UK, Canada and the Philippines.
The NCB claimed that at least nine websites operating on the darknet, that were being used in by this syndicate, had their IP addresses located outside India. The illegal trade, it alleged, was being run using crypto currencies and it has been found that some monetary transactions took place in accounts "based out of India."
Malhotra said the syndicate members were using the difficult-to-track voice over internet protocol (VoIP) telephony to stay in touch and avoid the surveillance of anti-narcotics agencies.