In 2014, international law enforcement conducted an operation targeting darknet drug markets and similarly illicit hidden services. They seized at least 414 .onion sites. Many sites resurfaced under new branding. A Swedish darknet market-forum hybrid was among those seized during Operation Onymous that rebranded after the disruption. After tracking a group of drug traffickers from the first shop to the second, Swedish authorities rounded up several individuals responsible for running a vendor account on the site. One member is now appealing his sentence.
The original site was a Swedish hidden service called “Flugsvamp.” Soon after international authorities took the site offline, a second iteration appeared. Dubbed Flugsvamp 2.0, the second site filled the gap left by the original site. Darknet vendors soon filled the market with their wares as if nothing had changed. And very little head actually changed—when law enforcement ends one darknet market, several rise to take the missing site’s place.
Swedish authorities grew increasingly aware of vendors though. In late 2016, they arrested several people between the ages 19 and 32 for transporting and selling drugs that ended up in the hands of buyers across Sweden via the Flugsvamp 2.0 vendor “Lågprishandeln.” The investigation and arrests continued into 2017. Eventually Swedish authorities successfully convicted seven individuals for crimes such as drug trafficking and money laundering.
One man, now 25 years old, has appealed his previous sentencing in hopes that the court will reduce the prison sentence and money owed to the court. His argument is that the drugs found in his apartment were intended for personal use and not for distribution purposes. During the raid, the police seized 215.37 grams of MDMA, 180.68 grams of amphetamine, 102 clonazepam pills, 3,930 alprazolam pills, 200 Ambien pills, six lorazepam pills, and five hits of LSD.
Two months after the first raid, the police raided his residence again. They found a similar array of substances. 100.24 grams of amphetamine, 753 alprazolam pills, 184 diazepam pills, 10 Ambien pills, a single clonazepam pill, 13 dextroamphetamine pills, and 3.84 grams of MDMA. The prosecution suspected that the man had planned to distribute the drugs, but the defendant argued that he had only stocked up on drugs due to his drug abuse issues.
On the day of the second raid, the police caught the defendant in a car with a co-defendant en route to deliver a package of amphetamine to a third conspirator. He also had 38 alprazolam pills in the vehicle.
The prosecution feels that have a strong case built against the 25-year-old. He is willing to take his chances in court, however. Even if the drug trafficking charges get dropped, the defendant will still be responsible for drug possession and weapons charges. He unlikely plans to leave prison regardless of the court’s ruling regarding his appeal.
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Swedish Darknet Vendor Appeals Prison Sentence