Magistrate Gabriel Fleming at the Nowra Local Court on 22 February 2019, denied bail requests from Patricia Koullias, 20, of Quaker Hill and Shanese Koullias, 24, of Callala Bay. The duo was charged by authorities for being involved in a prohibited drugs operation worth $17 million conducted through the dark web.
According to a report, the detectives from the State Crime Command’s Criminal Groups Squad launched an investigation into the online drug operations in April 2018. In the course of the operation, they discovered an online based sophisticated criminal drug group that operated from the South Coast.
According to the report, the investigators came across a man who acted as the ring leader named Cody Ronald Ward, 25. He led the operation of illegal dark web related drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, LSD, MDMA, prescription medication and methylamphetamine (ice), and amphetamine.
They then informed the South Coast police and the Cybercrime Unit. In collaboration with the Strike Force Royden detectives and the Australian Postal Offices, a total of 85 parcels containing illegal substances were intercepted on the 13th of February 2019.
The operation of the State Crime Command’s Criminal Groups Squad has been very effective as a similar operation launched by them led to the arrest of a man who was involved in a sophisticated international criminal organization a few months ago.
Soon after the interception, the Strike Force Royden and the South Coast police detectives served four separate search warrants to the Callala Bay and Callala Beach areas. They also served another search warrant to Patricia’s property in Quakers Hill. In the execution of the order, the authorities confiscated a large amount of drugs including boxes of Xanax packaged as candy, cannabis, and 100,000 tablets of LSD. Authorities also seized more than 200 grams of MDMA, 2.5 kg of white powder suspected to be diazepam, cocaine, amphetamine, and other illicit substances.
The execution of the search warrant also led to the discovery of three cars – a Lexus, a Mercedes-Benz, and a Ford Falcon. Also, authorities have launched an investigation into a Maserati car. A cash sum of more than $80,000, a laptop, electronic storage devices, mobile phones, a vacuum sealer, a label maker, money counters, yellow and blue pills containing drugs, and some other substances used for the packaging of the illegal drugs were discovered and seized. Their arrest was said to be one of the largest, if not the largest, drug arrests in the country.
They were charged for dealing in prohibited drugs, being part of a dark web based criminal group, and knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime.
In an investigation, it was revealed that the women were involved in the preparation of illegal drugs. They also ensured that the drugs were well packaged and distributed to their various destinations based on the orders they received. They distributed the drugs using the postal services until authorities intercepted some of their packages. Ward, who was the ring leader, was charged with six counts for using the dark web to facilitate the sale of illegal drugs on a commercial scale, knowingly directing the activities of a dark web based criminal group, and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.
As claimed by the report, Patricia Koullias faces five charges for being involved in supplying prohibited drugs on a commercial scale and knowingly participating in a criminal group.
Shanese faces six charges for being involved in the supplying of a prohibited drug on a large scale, knowingly participating in a criminal group, and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.
It has also been revealed that exploitation of electronic evidence and some investigations on Ward’s cryptocurrency wallet showed that the amount transacted is over $17 million. Authorities seized cryptocurrencies in his wallet under the suspicion that they are proceeds of crime.
The Australia postal service previously had a lot of troubles intercepting drugs. However, things seem to have changed as they have recently made many successful interceptions of packages containing illegal drugs. The effort of the police recently led to the arrest of three Australians for importing drugs from the dark web.