A press release from authorities in the Czech Republic confirmed that law enforcement had arrested five suspects in December for allegedly operating the vendor account “czechairlines” on a number of darkweb marketplaces.
In December, OpenDark.Net published “ Customs Busted a Darkweb Drug Ring in the Czech Republic.” The majority of the information available at the time indicated that Czech authorities had arrested the operators of the czechairlines vendor account. However, the original announcement detailed the investigation and the suspected drug operation but did not cover the relevant vendor accounts. This announcement provides some information on the suspects as well as the accounts the suspects used on several marketplaces. (To clarify, this press releases does not provide any updates about the case; it contains the key pieces of information missing from previous announcements. And some pretty neat pictures.)
An announcement from the Police of the Czech Republic confirmed the czechairlines bust as a part of operation “AIRBUS.” In addition to czechairlines, authorities in the Czech Republic also arrested the suspected operators of the “Bushplanet” and “DonkeyKong” vendor accounts.
Below is the (automatically) translated press release.
In cooperation with the National Drug Headquarters, the Customs Administration, the Czech Post and other carriers, we managed to uncover large-scale drug crime, which took place in a hidden part of the Internet and concurrently in several countries.
These were two separate operations with a similar pattern of committing, reflecting the current increase in trafficking of traditional drugs in cyberspace, which in many ways significantly increases their availability. In this environment, substances are traded both in small quantities intended for end users and in volumes in kilograms for distribution. This mode of trade is also associated with an increase in mail-order drug transport.
The Customs Administration of the Czech Republic is also focusing on cyber crime and combating cross-border drug crime. In 2019, the Customs coordinated around 600 international requests for cooperation in combating cross-border drug crime, including the use of the institute of controlled shipment in the context of criminal proceedings, which inter alia managed to intercept more than eight tons of ‘drug precursors’ our territory.
As part of the operation with the code name “AIRBUS”, National Drug Headquarters officers detained a five-member group who have long been involved in the distribution of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in virtual markets located in the latent TOR network, known as Darknet or DAr. This group of people from the Czech Republic offered various types of drugs for sale, especially ecstasy tablets, cocaine, ketamine and MDMA.
The group of offenders consisted of persons aged 25 to 28 years. The two main perpetrators focused primarily on supply and brokerage on Darknet, and the rest of the group dealt with the distribution of substances among end-users. Narcotic and psychotropic substances were smuggled into the Czech Republic mainly from Belgium and the Netherlands, through private courier companies. Subsequently, they were further distributed not only in the Czech Republic, but also sent to various countries almost all over the world, including the USA, Australia or Russia, for which the perpetrators used exclusively the services of Czech Post.
“The Czech Post is responsible for the transport of consignments. The senders are responsible for their content. This does not mean that we are an open drug distribution channel for the Czech Republic. Moreover, the postal conditions clearly define what may and may not be sent. We do not check the contents of letters and parcels, we take care of their delivery. Thanks to cooperation with the police and the customs administration, there are procedures that I cannot, of course, comment on to detect posting of drugs. This is an extremely risky activity with an appropriate punishment rate and I do not recommend this abuse of Czech Post services to anyone. Everything can be sent, the consequences are different, ” says Czech Post CEO Roman Knap.
Crime organizers have been using the pseudonym “czechairlines” and have been offering drugs since 2015. They have continuously operated on six virtual marketplaces located in the TOR latent network. They used primarily the virtual currency BTC (Bitcoin) as a means of payment for the sale of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, but also the so-called “altcoin” payment such as LTC (Litecoin), ETH (Ethereum) or XMR (Monero) was accepted. The group used not only an internal communicator of virtual platforms, but also common encrypted communicators to communicate with its customers.
During the final realization of the case, about 6 kilograms of OPL, mostly ecstasy tablets of various colors and shapes, as well as MDMA, ketamine and cocaine were seized during nine house searches or other premises searches. In addition, the so-called cryptocurrency was secured, namely 2.3 BTC (Bitcoin) and cash of approximately CZK 300,000 in cash.
Bushplanet and DonkeyKong
Criminal prosecution was initiated against two crime organizers for the crime of illicit manufacture and other handling of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and poisons pursuant to Section 283 (1), (3) (a) and (b). c) tr. of the Criminal Code in complicity according to § 23 of the Criminal Code. of the Code, for which they face a term of imprisonment of eight to twelve years. The concrete involvement of other persons is the subject of an ongoing investigation.
In an operation under the code name “KOMP”, a police officer was detained by a police officer who had been involved in the long-term distribution of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances through the use of Darknet’s latent Internet computer network using the TOR (The Onion Router) viewing platform. at various virtual markets called Alphabay, Dream Market, Tochka, Wall Street Market, Berlusconi Market, Darkshades Market, Nightmare, Empire Market. The accused offered various types of drugs for sale, especially ecstasy tablets, cocaine, amphetamine, or MDMA, and the dry matter of cannabis with a high THC content, all of which he was able to deliver in large quantities and quality.
They are men of Czech nationality at the age of 33 years with a drug criminal history who had a sophisticated system of committing crimes and at the same time conspired to do this, used various storage facilities, changed places of dispatch of consignments, hid their current residence. During the investigation of the case, he barely used a mobile phone, he used various encrypted communicators to communicate.
Drugs traded mainly through various virtual markets, and its end-users included people from around the world, such as Australia, the US, Scandinavia, European countries, the Russian Federation. He used the services of various transport companies, especially Czech Post. The method of procuring narcotic and psychotropic substances is subject to further investigation.
The accused was under the pseudonym “Bushplanet” and “DonkeyKong”, offered drugs since at least 2017, and operated in at least four virtual markets in the latent DARKNET network. BTC (Bitcoin) was primarily used as a means of payment for the sale of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in a virtual environment, but it also accepted other “types” of virtual currencies (Monero, Litecoin, and others).
In the final realization of the case, a total of 3,219 g MDMA and 208 g dried plant material containing THC were obtained during the house search and two searches of other premises.
During the investigation of the case, it was possible to prove and ensure the dispatch of consignments containing a total of: 5,886.71 grams of MDMA, 99.7 grams of cocaine, 79.49 grams of dried plant material containing THC, 1,107 pieces of high MDMA ecstasy tablets and 150, 47 grams of amphetamine.
Criminal prosecution was initiated for the crime of illicit production and other treatment of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and poisons pursuant to the provisions of Section 283 (1) (2) (a). b), par. c), where a punishment rate of 8 to 12 years imprisonment is set. The accused is currently in custody.
At present, both investigations and financial investigations are underway, and it is not possible to exclude the detention and accusation of other persons involved in the aforementioned crime or the extension of criminal prosecution of already accused persons or the provision of another virtual currency.