Three people are awaiting charges in connection to a year-long RCMP investigation into alleged drug trafficking on the dark web from an operation based in Nanaimo, B.C.
The RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) began its investigation into online drug trafficking using the dark web and bitcoin exchanges in January 2019.
According to RCMP, Project EPateriform targeted a “prolific” dark web vendor known online as “AlwaysOvrWeight,” whose location was later narrowed to Nanaimo “using conventional and non-conventional techniques.”
Investigators gradually gathered evidence supporting allegations that “AlwaysOvrWeight” was facilitating the online sale of GHB, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, psychedelic mushrooms, fentanyl and other drugs to Canadians.
GHB is commonly known as a “date rape” drug or “club drug” that is often reported to be found in drinks spiked at parties or clubs.
RCMP were also able to gather evidence to identify people working behind the same “AlwaysOvrWeight” moniker.
On Feb. 4, RCMP members with both FSOC and the Federal Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement and Response Team executed a search warrant at a home in the 3900-block of Hammond Bay Road in Nanaimo.
Inside the home, officers found a GHB processing lab along with evidence of drug packaging and trafficking.
The same day, police also executed a search warrant at a second home in the 6100-block of Kiara Place in Nanaimo, where “evidence of drug trafficking using the dark web” was found, according to RCMP.
Three suspects were arrested, but police say no charges have been laid yet as the investigation remains ongoing.
The RCMP extended thanks to Canada Post for their help and co-operation in advancing the investigation, along with the Nanaimo and Powell River RCMP detachments.
“Our determined investigators used ingenuity and innovative techniques to remove the anonymity of the internet from online drug traffickers,” RCMP Insp. Tim Arseneault said in a statement.
RCMP FSOC Supt. Richard Bergevin said police will “continue to work to enhance public safety for all Canadians in the real and virtual world.”
“This marks the success of a challenging project,” he added.