A 21-year-old from Lucknow, an operative of one of the biggest illegal drug markets on the ‘dark web’, was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on January 31. As per the NCB, the accused, Dipu Singh, is India’s first narcotics vendor on the ‘dark web’ to be caught and has allegedly sold drugs through medical suppliers in India and third-party vendors all over the world.
‘Dark web’ is that part of the internet which cannot be accessed by ordinary search engines, and is used for illegal activities like buying drugs, hacking accounts, among others.
NCB Deputy Director General Rajesh Nandan Srivastava said Singh has sold psychotropic drugs to clients in Romania, UK, USA, Spain and a few other European countries. In December 2019 alone, NCB officials from Delhi and Mumbai seized over 55,000 tablets of psychotropic tablets, worth Rs 45 lakh, from Delhi, Mumbai and UK.
In December 2018, officials said Singh, son of a retired Army officer in Lucknow, allegedly became a vendor on two online portals, Empire Market and Majestic Garden, on the dark web. Over 600 parcels had been sent via this network.
Alerted to the illegal supply, the International Narcotics Control Board started an investigation last December to gather information from officers in different countries about the shipments. On January 31, Delhi officers seized a package in the capital and its source was traced to Lucknow. A team caught Singh from his house and seized his drug supplies.
A senior officer told The Indian Express, “We found that Singh’s name was listed as an active vendor on Empire Market. His user name was Mr Robo. We created fake IDs and tried to purchase a few drugs. He then sent a message to us on WhatsApp about consignment.”
Raids were conducted in Lucknow’s Alam Bagh and Singh was found. “Under the garb of his initial medicine business on the dark web, he sold psychotropic medicines,” said Zonal Director (Operations) KPS Malhotra.
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