South Korean teens dealing in crypto-narcotics jailed

South Korean teens dealing in crypto-narcotics jailed

A mallet and pad next to a South Korean flag on a wooden table.
Source: Somemeans/Adobe

A “continuous” stream of South Korean teenagers are being handed prison sentences as law enforcement continues to crack down on crypto-fueled drug trafficking.

The Kyungnam Shinmun reported that courts in the southern city of Changwon are now “sentencing teenagers and people in their twenties to prison, one after the other.”

Recent examples, the newspaper explained, included an unnamed 19-year-old who was convicted of purchasing drugs including ecstasy (MDMA) and ketamine in violation of the Drug Control Act.

The teenager was sentenced to eight months in prison and two years’ probation.

The teenager was also ordered to attend lectures on the negative effects of drugs.

The sentencing judge was quoted as stating:

“Drug crimes have a negative effect on a person’s sanity and judgment. Drug addiction has a major negative impact on society as a whole.”

Another person was given one year, four months in prison on April 17, along with two years of probation.

This person, the court heard, made several drug purchases “using Telegram and cryptocurrency wallets.”

The court heard that drug dealers had distributed narcotics using the “dead drop” method.

This involves prepayment in crypto.

The drug dealer then has the drug “delivered” surreptitiously in a public location near the intended recipient, such as a disused sewer 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.

Drug prices are usually much higher in South Korea than elsewhere in the world.

This is mainly due to the fact that the police have previously been successful in their efforts to eradicate drug crime in the country.

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But the rise of social media, encrypted chat apps and crypto seems to have dented this.

South Korea’s ‘Crypto-Driven Drug Problem’

South Korean drug dealers appear to advertise their services with impunity on social media platforms. have seen several Korean-language posts uploaded to Twitter in the past 24 hours from people claiming to be drug dealers.

Most people seemed to refer potential customers to Telegram handles.

A few also advertised so-called “party rooms” – online chat rooms frequented by drug dealers and potential customers.

Some openly wrote about “nationwide deliveries” of drugs such as marijuana, LSD, MDMA (ecstasy), methamphetamine (crystal meth), ketamine and other drugs.

A few referred to cryptoassets as a payment method.

Many followed these claims with pictures of what appeared to be bags of drugs.

Others chose videos of what appeared to be people smoking marijuana and other drugs.

Earlier this year, police arrested a 14-year-old girl in Seoul on suspicion that she had bought crystal meth by paying a crypto dealer.

The girl was found in a public stairwell in the building where she lived.

She reportedly paid about $300 in crypto for 10 “doses” of the drug.

Police have responded by increasing spending on crypto-monitoring tools in an effort to track down dealers.

Last month, the National Police Agency announced that it had launched a new cybercrime taskforce to tackle crypto-related crime.

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