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Tokyo: Mail order ring used dark web to peddle ‘dangerous drugs’

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have busted a mail order operation that is believed to have sold so-called “dangerous drugs” through the mail, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Mar. 19).

On February 25, police found Takeshi Sugino, a 45-year-old company employee, and two accomplices to be in possession of 230 grams of powdered and liquefied drugs deemed illegal with intent to sell at a residence in Katsushika Ward.

The contraband has a street value of 34,000 yen, the Kameari Police Station said.

Upon their arrests on suspicion of violating the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Act, all three suspects denied the allegations, police said.

Takeshi Sugino (Twitter)

During a search of multiple locations connected to the suspects, police found a total of 10 kilograms of powdered and liquefied drugs valued at around 97 million yen.

Police also discovered beakers and other equipment that is believed to be for the production of the contraband. A customer list with about 500 names was also found.

Virtual currencies

The varying chemicals comprising dangerous drugs, which usually provide a hallucinatory effect, are often able to exploit legal loopholes. Since April of 2014, the health ministry has been adding the names of prohibited compounds in order to restrict their use.

Between December, 2015 and last November, the operation accumulated 140 million yen in sales, police said.

To solicit customers, the operation utilized the dark web, a part of the internet not visible to search engines that is utilized by persons anonymously. Communication with customers was conducted with the Telegram messaging service, which allows for the deletion of messages from its server. Payment was made in virtual currencies.