South Korean ‘Crypto Drug-trading Teens’ Jailed
Kyungnam Shinmun reported that courts in the southern city of Changwon are now “sentencing teens and people in their twenties to imprisonment, one after another.”
Recent examples, the newspaper explained, included an unnamed 19-year-old who was convicted of buying narcotics, including ecstasy (MDMA) and ketamine, in violation of the Narcotics Control Act.
The teenager was sentenced to eight months in prison and two years of probation.
The teen was also ordered to attend lectures on the negative effects of drugs.
The sentencing judge was quoted as stating:
“Drug crimes have an adverse effect on a person’s sound mind and judgment. Drug addiction has a great negative impact on society as a whole.”
Another individual was given a one-year, four-month prison term on April 17, along with two years of probation.
This individual, the court heard, made multiple drug purchases “with the use of Telegram and cryptocurrency wallets.”
The court heard that drug dealers had distributed the narcotics using the “dead drop” method.
This involves pre-payment in crypto.
The drug dealer then leaves the drug “delivery” hidden in a public place near the intended recipient, such as a disused drain pipe or a crack in a public building.
The dealer then leaves the scene and contacts the buyer to explain where the drugs are hidden.
Narcotics prices are typically much higher in South Korea than elsewhere in the world.
This is due mainly to the fact that the police have previously been successful in their efforts to stamp out drug crime in the nation.
But the advent of social media, encrypted chat apps, and crypto appear to have dented this.
South Korea’s “Crypto-powered Drug Problem”
South Korean drug dealers appear to be advertising their services with impunity on social media platforms.
Cryptonews.com has seen multiple Korean-language posts uploaded to Twitter in the past 24 hours from individuals claiming to be drug dealers.
Most seemed to be directing would-be clients to Telegram handles.
A few also advertised so-called “party rooms” – online chat rooms frequented by drug dealers and would-be clients.
Some wrote openly about “nationwide deliveries” of drugs such as marijuana, LSD, MDMA (ecstasy), methamphetamine (crystal meth), ketamine, and other drugs.
A few made references to cryptoassets as a payment method.
Many accompanied these claims with photos of what appeared to be bags of drugs.
Others chose videos of what seemed to be individuals smoking marijuana and other drugs.
Earlier this year, police arrested a 14-year-old girl in Seoul over suspicions she had bought crystal meth, paying a dealer in crypto.
The girl was found in a public stairwell in the building she lived in.
She reportedly paid some $300 worth of crypto for 10 “doses” of the substance.
Police have responded by upping their spending on crypto monitoring tools in a bid to trace dealers.
Last month, the National Police Agency stated that it had launched a new cybercrime taskforce that will tackle crypto-related crime.