3 Australian Men Arrested for Importing Drugs from the Darknet
Three Australian men are accused by law enforcement of being part of a drug syndicate that had imported drugs such as ketamine, cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA into Australia from foreign vendors who operated on darknet markets. In May of last year, 34 year old Chaim Goldstein was the first of the three accused men to be arrested by law enforcement. Mr. Goldstein was arrested after receiving a package of baby formula, which was supposed to have contained MDMA and ketamine hidden inside of it to avoid detection by customs agents. The stealth that the darknet market vendor used to hide the drugs was clearly not sufficient, as the Australian Border Force detected the drugs and seized the package. The arrest of Mr. Goldstein occurred at his parents’ home in the Bellevue Hill suburb of Sydney, Australia. Law enforcement then arrested 33 year old Dov Tenenboim of Syndey, Australia, in June of last year. Teneboim refers to himself as an “elite hacker” and is accused by law enforcement of being a drug kingpin.
New information about the case was recently revealed by law enforcement in a report that appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, which published an SMS text message that Mr. Tenenboim had sent to Mr. Goldstein after they had believed their order for ketamine and MDMA from the darknet market had successfully made it into the country. “Celebrate this one tonight,” Dov Teneboim wrote to Chaim Goldstein in the SMS text message he had sent, according to a “fact sheet” document that was released by law enforcement. The celebration never occurred, as Mr. Goldstein was arrested by heavily armed law enforcement officers on that same day. The man who called himself an “elite hacker” discussed his illegal activities with his partners in crime over unencrypted SMS text messages, which can easily be intercepted, or otherwise obtained, by law enforcement either through the use of equipment such as cell site simulators, like Stingrays, or through the cellular service provider.
The package of MDMA and ketamine had been sent to a ‘Cheyenne Gold,’ apparently a fake name, and contained a tin with four foil packages which contained 194 grams of drugs that included MDMA powder as well as ecstasy pills and ketamine. The brown and white ecstasy pills with an iPhone X imprint and the red and white tablets with a QDance imprint were both analyzed and were found to contain MDMA. A white crystalline powder that was found in the package was also analyzed and was found to be ketamine. Law enforcement say the package from the darknet vendor had been shipped from the Netherlands. The Australian Border Force inspected and seized the package that was sent by the darknet vendor after it had arrived at the airport in Sydney.
After the Australian Border Force had seized the package, they replaced the drugs inside of the tin with inert powder. The dummy package was then transported to Chaim Goldstein’s address by a North South Wales police officer who was disguised as a UPS delivery man. Law enforcement allege that the seized package containing drugs was just one of many that had been imported into Australia by Dov Tenenboim. The Australian authorities allege that Mr. Tenenboim had imported millions of dollars’ worth of drugs into the country. The arrests came about as a result of an investigation conducted by a variety of Australian law enforcement agencies, including the Australian Border Force, the Australian Federal Police, the State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad, the Eastern Suburbs Area Command as well as local law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement agents called the task force from the various Australian law enforcement agencies “Strike Force Bergmark.” The investigation was also assisted by law enforcement agents involved with Operation Odin. Strike Force Bergmark began their investigation in February of last year.
During the arrest of Mr. Tenenboim in June of last year, police seized $70,000 in cash, $350,000 dollars’ worth of Bitcoin (at the time), and a diamond ring. Mr. Teneboim originally faced 45 charges, but the number of charges against him has been reduced to seven. Police had become aware of Mr. Teneboim’s drug import operation after an unnamed associate of his informed on him to the police while high on drugs. Another man, named Dan Sopher, is also being charged for allegedly supplying 1.5 kilograms of cocaine to the syndicate. Mr. Goldstein faces a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison, if convicted on all charges.