Peddlers used darknet, bitcoins to supply drugs from Chicago to Hyderabad school students

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In one of the biggest drug hauls, the Hyderabad police arrested three persons and seized contraband worth Rs 22 lakh on Sunday. While the haul was big, initial investigations reveal that the drug racket is even bigger. One that extends all the way from Chicago to Goa to Hyderabad. A special investigation team of the Excise department is now probing how peddlers turned school children, members of the Telugu film industry and businessmen into their clients.

Peddlers used darknet, bitcoins to supply drugs from Chicago to Hyderabad school students

Investigators have now learnt that students, especially high school students of more than 20 schools, were clients of the trio arrested for peddling drugs. Children from influential families, members of Tollywood were on the contact list of those arrested with LSD and MDMA, commonly referred to as acid and ecstasy on Sunday. After two days of investigation, officials have now learnt that the racket is far sinister and is probably part of an international drug cartel.

During interrogation, one of the accused has admitted to sourcing the drug from a man in Chicago. Calvin Mascarenhas, Mohammed Abdul Wahed and Abdul Quddus were arrested by Excise personnel. They were in possession of 700 dots of LSD and 35gm of MDMA worth Rs 1.4 lakh. Probe officials have been told that the supplier, who is yet to be identified, lives in Chicago on a dependent visa. Further, the middleman in the racket is touted to be a Goan only identified by the name Bob.

While officials are sure of transactions taking place on the darknet and probably using bitcoins, they are yet to identify the route through which the drugs were brought to Hyderabad without being caught anywhere.

"The Darknet net is not particularly dark but just not available on Google. It is very easy to access. Networks can be downloaded and it gives you a secure internet access layer that allows you to hide your IP address and website. It is set up in such a way that even the host network doesn't know what website you are trying to access. It is a very discreet network," said Kiran Jonnalagadda, the founder of Hasgeek.

Probe officers have identified two more persons suspected to be involved in the racket and one of them happens to be associated with the Telugu film industry. Officers said that four or five students each of at least 20 schools in Hyderabad had approached the peddlers for drugs. More than 60 students were clients of those arrested on Sunday. Schools have been issued notices while the students' names have been kept confidential.

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