In Udmurtia, a federal subject of Russia located the Volga Federal District, drug seizures, especially seizures of substituted cathinones are far from uncommon. According to the most recent poll, 6,000 or more drug addicts reside in Udmurtia and that number only counts addicts, not drug users. With the growing popularity of the darknet, many started ordering drugs from the darknet and distributing them both locally and redistributing them online.

Local law enforcement recently caught another drug smuggler of the above variety: the type that buys drugs for redistribution. Officers of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Drug Control Service arrested the driver of a vehicle who, as police discovered after stopping his car, carried numerous packages of stimulants that he had purchased online.

They found 130 grams of a methcathinone derivative, along with a certain amount of amphetamine. Upon questioning the Renault driver, he explained his plans and intent. He also gave away two locations where he planned to distribute the drug to other distributors.

He purchased a significant quantity of methcathinone and other “synthetic” drugs from online drug stores, the authorities said. He purchased the drugs to repackage them and sell them through several different channels. When police stopped his vehicle, he was headed from Izhevsk, the capital city of the Udmurt Republic, to Sarapul, another city in the Udmurt Republic.

The 130 grams that officers found in his car was intended to be packaged and distributed to contacts in Sarapul. Authorities did not convey what the recipients in Sarapul planned to do with the packages, although the small quantity of methcathinone indicated that he sold only to drug users in Sarapul and used the location in Izhevsk for the shipping-related activities. In similar cases, the dealer often rented an apartment in a different city.

From the rented apartment, he or she sold “remotely” to buyers on the darknet. Usually on forums and personal vendor shops, but also on darknet marketplaces. Then, often in their hometown, the dealer returned and sold locally. As we are seeing in a fairly large series of busts, the dealers routinely operate with three or more accomplices. Some package the drugs and some run to and from drop points.

Drop points are frequent tactic in these situations, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the relevant location—in this case, the Republic of Udmurt. The dealer will have associates deliver the drugs to key locations and the buyer will pick the drugs up from a location defined by the seller. This activity also occurs with darknet sales.

Drug Control Service officers explained that, even in the suspect’s hometown, darknet orders are filled—the dealer simply does not ship packages and only works with locals using dead drops. His or her associates run the packages to the location before the buyer arrives finishes the seller’s end of the deal. The darknet buyers are unaware of the seller’s identity, the police described. However, some deals take place over SMS and these are usually the more traditional style of drug dealing.

After the arrest, law enforcement started investigating the 28-year-old’s operation in Sarapul. They temporarily detained the suspect until the investigation completes. He was charged with the illegal possession of narcotics for the purpose of further sale.