Following a flurry of arrests earlier this month, South Korean courts have sentenced drug dealers who used darkweb portals to distribute drugs for bitcoin (BTC) to jail time and suspended sentences.
Over 200 people have been detained as a result of two separate operations, one in the capital Seoul and the other in the North Gyeongsang Province, for purchasing or selling drugs like ketamine, cannabis, and MDMA (ecstasy) using the Telegram messenger app, bitcoin wallets, and darkweb portals that charged users for using their services.
According to Newsis, four individuals who were sentenced at a branch of the Seoul Northern District Court were all between the ages of 34 and 36 but were kept anonymous for legal reasons.
The presiding court imposed probationary terms of two years and imprisonment sentences ranging from 10 months to one year in length (suspended).
The four were sentenced to up to $18,000 in fines and were required to complete 40 hours of “drug therapy classes.”
Evidence presented in court showed that the four traded drugs using “dead drop” techniques, in which consumers paid in advance.
Then, dealers would drop off bags of drugs at pre-arranged sites in public areas.
Then, when the dealers had left the scene, buyers would be told to go to these places and pick up their goods.
Darkweb operators interested in Bitcoin found
The information was provided to the court along with evidence of bitcoin transactions that took place between the parties.
The defendants, according to the prosecution, have used the platform to trade drugs at least since 2018.
Police have asserted that they are in possession of cutting-edge crypto transaction-tracing equipment and have vowed to use it to stop crimes fueled by bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
The operators of the darkweb portals, however, have so far eluded them, so their search for them is still underway.
In addition to having a fondness for BTC, which they are said to have adopted as an unofficial “currency,” officers suspect the operators are connected to the Seoul nightlife scene.
As officers across the nation continue their inquiries, more arrests are anticipated in the upcoming weeks.