Aussie police arrest four in global dark net sting

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Aussie police arrest four in global dark net sting

Searches allegedly uncover illicit drugs for sale.

Australian law enforcement agencies last week teamed up with global counterparts to chase down individuals using sites on the so-called dark net for illicit activities.

The AFP, Immigration department, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, and local state and territory police forces formed part of an international "global week of action" targeting people on dark net sites who were engaging in illegal behaviour.

The "dark net period of action", as they called it, was intended to develop a "more unified global law enforcement response to the growing use of dark net sites to buy and sell illicit goods and services".

Agencies from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, France, Finland and the Netherlands were also involved in the initiative.

Eleven search warrants were executed across Australia, resulting in four arrests and six summons after illicit substances including MDMA, cocaine, and cannabis among others, were discovered, the Immigration department said.

It promised to continue targeting activity on dark net sites over the coming weeks.

The department said while illegal drugs were the most commonly traded item on the deep web, weapons, fake identities, prescription drugs, and services like money laundering are also offered for sale.

“While it is not an offence to access such sites, the purchase and importation of illicit goods and services is," the AFP's national manager of organised crime and cyber Ian McCartney said in a statement.

“Last week’s actions demonstrate that law enforcement agencies across the globe are working collaboratively to identify and apprehend those individuals using illicit dark net sites.”

Users access dark net sites through a network like The Onion Router (TOR) that allows the individual to remain anonymous while browsing. Sites on the dark net are used by those keen to preserve anonymity, avoid tracking by governments or hackers, and engage in illegal activities.

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