Kiwi drug buyers identified in worldwide darknet bust

An ecstasy pill (file)
An ecstasy pill (file)

More than 160 New Zealanders have been "identified and spoken to" for attempting to buy or sell illicit drugs on the darknet and other websites - with police planning on catching out many more in the coming weeks.

Law enforcement agencies worldwide were involved in Operation Hyperion from October 22 to 28 - a "co-ordinated effort" to bust those using the internet in all its various forms to involve themselves in the illegal drug trade.

New Zealand Police and Customs focused on packages coming through mail centres, and then tracked these back to buyers and sellers.

Among the illegal drugs identified were cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, alpha PVP, LSD, ecstasy, and cannabis seeds.

Almost 300 people involved in the illegal trade have been identified, with six arrested, and 66 formal warnings given. One person faces 13 importing charges relating to ecstasy, LSD and cannabis.

"The clear message for people who think they can use the internet to buy illegal drugs and get away with it is that they can't," says National High Tech Crime Group manager Kelly Knight.

"These sites are not top secret. Police can view them, and together with Customs we can track packages down to addresses and individuals."

Wellington Police have also charged a person in connection with creating the now-closed darknet illegal drug site VicUnderworld.

A 22-year-old male will appear in the Wellington District Court on Friday 4 November.