The financial department of the SRPJ (Regional Judicial Police Service – Service Régional de Police Judiciaire in French) arrested a suspect for buying fake euro notes from the dark net.
The defendant, a deputy director of a bank branch, who was currently on leave for training in a pilot school, was arrested at his home in Montpellier. According to police information, the suspect ordered 10 counterfeit euro notes (20 and 50) from the dark net. The defendant admitted that he wanted to use the fake bills to buy cannabis. However, as he discovered that the quality of the money is bad (he is an expert of the currency), he burnt nine out of the 10 notes.
During the house search, investigators seized 200 grams of marijuana, as well as a “tiny bit” of cocaine.
According to the prosecution, the suspect was dealing in narcotics. He allegedly repaid friends who he owned money with marijuana. The defendant was presented to the public prosecutor’s office in Montpellier last week. The banker will stand trial before the correctional court for drug trafficking charges.
Earlier this month, Guillaume Poupard, the head of the French national security service the Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information (ANSSI), described how terrorist groups, such as the ISIS and Al-Qaeda, are using the dark web to spread propaganda and obtain firearms illegally.
“Digital attacks with major impacts are unlikely in the short term. However, that could change very fast. Our real fear, and we may already be there, is that they will use mercenaries, people who will do anything for money. The skills are complex, though not at the level of a nuclear weapon. With a few dozen people, a little money, but not that much, you can be effective,” Poupard said at an international cyber security conference in France.
The French head of security claims that terrorist groups are using the anonymous parts of the web to their advantage, to spread their beliefs, teachings, and vision to the world. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Europol director Rob Wainwright talked about the same issue as Poupard. According to him, the Europol is concerned that terrorist groups could acquire deadly weapons, including explosives, rifles, and missiles, through dark net marketplaces.
“Even if they don’t have access to the capabilities, they can simply buy it on the darknet (a hidden internet realm of encrypted websites), where there is an enormous trade in cyber criminal technology. That said, attacking the critical national infrastructures at least of most countries is… not easily done, and it’s something that is not as immediate and showy as firing automatic weapons in a theatre or in public,” said Wainwright.
It is a good question whether it is worth it for terrorists to obtain weapons from the dark net. As seen in several of our previous articles, purchasing firearms is a risky move since law enforcement authorities are closely surveilling dark net markets for possible weapon sales. Maybe if terrorist groups fail to acquire firearms in the “standard way,” they would look to order weapons from dark web vendors.