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India has made its first arrest of an alleged dark web narcotics vendor. 

Recent Amity University graduate Dipu Singh was taken into custody in Alambagh, Lucknow, on February 9 by India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). The 21-year-old is accused of selling psychotropic drugs disguised as erectile dysfunction remedies on dark web marketplaces in exchange for cryptocurrency.

Singh, whom the NCB described as “a major player on the dark net,” allegedly sold illegal drugs to clients in several European countries, including Romania and Spain, and to customers in the UK and the US. 

The illegal pills were mostly sold through dark web sites Majestic Garden and Empire Market, then shipped via global post offices and international courier services. The NCB suspects Singh also made sales via WhatsApp.

“Singh had mastered the technique to disguise the identity while making a shipment. It was learnt that the said parcel was devoid of KYC details,” said deputy director general of operations at the NCB, Rajesh Nandan Srivastava.

In three seizures, NCB’s Mumbai Zonal Unit recovered 33,000 Tramadol and Zolpidem tablets, which they claim can be linked to Singh’s alleged drug dealing operation. Another 22,000 tablets were seized by the Delhi team.

A total of 55,000 psychotropic tablets, which include tramadol, zolpidem, and alprazolam, were seized as part of a two-month-long operation into Singh’s alleged activities. 

Singh gained a bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management last year. To help fund his studies, Singh accepted a part-time job at a legitimate internet pharmacy in 2018. There he earned a commission from the sale of fitness supplements and erectile dysfunction medicines, but the NCB alleges that the then student was lured over to the dark side by the promise of more money.

An NCB spokesperson said Singh “further learnt that the major profit is in the sale of controlled psychotropic medicines.”

Singh allegedly worked with an associate, who took orders for the drugs and shared details of where to deliver each package. After using couriers to collect the drugs from various cities in India, Singh is accused of sending them out to his customers packaged as erectile dysfunction medicine.

If convicted, Singh is likely to face a stiff sentence.

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