North Wales Police uncover criminal gangs trading in drugs and firearms on the dark web
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
Sophisticated criminals in the north of Wales are using a ‘dodgy eBay-type service’ on the dark web to trade drugs and firearms.
Sellers are even rated on their service, how well the illegal item was packaged and how undetectable it was.
The underworld activity came to light at a meeting of the North Wales Police and Crime Panel.
Crime commissioner Andy Dunbobbin said the tactics used by criminals to trade drugs and firearms were ‘scary’.
The panel met at Conwy’s Bodlondeb council chamber where Wrexham councillor Nigel Williams asked Mr Dunbobbin how North Wales Police was tackling cyber crime after a graph showed a rising trajectory between November 2021 and March 2022.
Mr Dunbobbin said the police’s regional organised crime unit had uncovered a ‘scary’ level of sophistication of criminals operating on the dark web.
“The majority of that piece of work is going on with the regional organised crime unit (ROCU), said Mr Dunbobbin. “I’ve been there (offices) a couple of times, and it is really difficult because they (the criminals) are filtering money off here, there, and everywhere through all sorts of different servers, in different countries.”
He added: “It’s really quite scary what’s going on there, regarding drugs, firearms, all sorts of things being sold on what can only be described as a really dodgy eBay [type] site, so much so that they (customers/criminals) even score the suppliers out of five on how well it was packaged and how undetectable it was. It is astounding, the lengths that they go to.”
Mr Dunbobbin added: “We all know cyber crime is the fastest crime in the world. Even now with the cost-of-living crisis, I’ve received text messages pretending they are the Government and offering some sort of refund, asking me to click on this link.
“There is maybe some people of a certain age who might be quite vulnerable, who would be quite tempted to do that, but what I am pleased to see is the work we are doing with the commission service, Get Safe Online, and how much value they’ve brought into the force, the cyber team, and how much engagement they are doing as well. I think it is a really strong offer that we are providing.”
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