Three men and a woman were accused of running a vendor shop and selling narcotics on the dark web by Skaraborg District Court. Law enforcement authorities believe the dealers made about five million SEK ($540,000) by distributing the illegal substances.
According to the indictment, the vendor shop ran between 2013 and April 2016. In April, Swedish law enforcement authorities raided an apartment in Mariestad, Sweden where they seized 15 different kinds of narcotics including LSD. It was a couple’s home who are now both among the defendants in the case. The prosecutor described the vendors’ operation as “systematic and professional”.
Sweden also took part in Operation Hyperion, a first ever global law enforcement action against illegal dark web activity. While the police in the Netherlands launched a dark net site listing the live and busted vendors and the users who they have identified, Swedish authorities claim they have de-anonymized 3,000 buyers and identified 20,000 dark web narcotic sales. It could be possible that the four suspects in the Skaraborg vendor case were part of those who the Swedish police identified as part of Hyperion.
ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) published a press release on October 31 announcing Operation Hyperion.
“‘Operation Hyperion’ was initiated by U.S. federal law enforcement, the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States) and members of Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, as the first step in developing a more unified global law enforcement response to the growing usage of the dark net by individuals seeking to buy and sell illicit drugs and other illegal goods and services,” the press release reads. “While illegal drugs continue to be the biggest item purchased and sold on dark net marketplaces, law enforcement agencies around the world are also seeing counterfeit prescription drugs and other counterfeit items, dangerous and deadly synthetic drugs like Fentanyl, deadly toxins, fake and stolen identities, identity documents and stolen credit card data, as well as illegal services like computer hacking, murder for hire and money laundering.”
The law enforcement agencies participated in Operation Hyperion includes the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Secret Service (USSS), Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and various state and local entities.
International partners included Europol the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency; Australian Federal Police; New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs Service; Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada Post and Canada Border Services Agency; The Netherlands; French Customs National Intelligence and Investigations Directorate; Finnish Customs; Swedish Police Authority and Swedish Customs; Ireland’s Garda National Drugs Organised Crime Bureau; and Spain’s Guardia Civil.
Operation Hyperion resulted in arrests all over the world. In Australia, law enforcement authorities arrested four persons including a Victoria University student who was charged with running a dark web market.