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Gardaí seize drugs and Bitcoin in major 'dark net' sting in Dublin

Two men have been arrested after the ecstasy tablets and LSD were seized in Dublin.

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GARDAÍ HAVE SEIZED almost €200,000 worth of drugs in Dublin as part of a major investigation into illegal items being sold on the ‘dark net’,  an encrypted layer of the internet.

Gardaí said the Criminal Assets Bureau also seized ‘currency assets’, and said an analysis is continuing with regard to the storage of Bitcoin currency.

Officers had been carrying out surveillance of a property on South Circular Road in Dublin city for some time after getting information from an international investigation into drugs being sold on the dark net, which identified an Irish vendor.

Gardaí from CAB and the National Drug Unit raided the premises on Wednesday afternoon and seized ecstasy tablets, LSD, and other drugs.

Two men in their 30s were arrested at the scene and are being held at Kevin Street and Kilmainham garda stations.

The dark net, which cannot be reached through a normal browser and requires anonymising software, allows buyers and sellers to buy things – including drugs and weapons – anonymously, often using Bitcoin.

Gardaí said a follow up search in Harold’s Cross in Dublin 6 resulted in the seizure of documentation about off-shore bank accounts in Switzerland, Belize, Poland, and a number of other countries.  A small amount of drugs was also seized in the operation.

In a statement, the Garda Press Office said that a “critical part” of the sting operation on the South Circular Road was “preservation of data on encrypted computers which related to the worldwide distribution of controlled drugs from this premises in Dublin 8″.

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“With the invaluable assistance of the CAB and Computer Crime Investigation Unit, a number of computers were safely retrieved with accessible information immediately at the time of entry on this search”.

Gardaí described the bust as a “significant vendor” and said the arrests will be “of significant interest to many global law enforcement agencies who specialise in dark net investigations”.

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