Media Release: AFP and Customs warn users of Silk Road

Release Date: Wednesday, July 25 2012, 06:00 AM

This is a joint media release between Australian Federal Police and Customs and Border Protection

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service are warning anyone engaging in illegal activity through online marketplaces such as Silk Road that their identity will not always remain anonymous and when caught, they will be prosecuted.  

Silk Road is an overseas based illicit e-commerce website which facilitates the sale of drugs, weapons and other items prohibited under Australian law.

Law enforcement is well aware of this method of drug procurement and other illicit e-commerce platforms and are committed to identifying and combating users importing narcotics via this website into Australia.

The warning follows the recent arrest of a Melbourne man who allegedly imported narcotics into Australia via Silk Road. The man was charged with 10 offences relating to the importation, trafficking and possession of narcotics and prohibited weapons.

AFP Manager Crime Operations Peter Sykora said although Silk Road is based overseas, Australian users are within the reach of the AFP’s powers.

“Criminals are attempting to exploit the international mail system through online networks, but the recent arrest demonstrates that we are one step ahead of them.

“The AFP will continue to identify, investigate and prosecute individuals or groups importing narcotics into Australia, including via illicit e-commerce platforms such as Silk Road,” Commander Sykora said.

Acting National Manager Cargo and Maritime Targeting Branch, Alana Sullivan, said that Customs and Border Protection monitors illicit e-commerce platforms including Silk Road and is aware of the Australian presence in the Silk Road market place, as both sellers and buyers.  

“Customs and Border Protection along with our partner agencies are committed to targeting and combating this type of illegal activity.

“Persons who buy or sell through online market places, on so-called ‘anonymous’ networks should understand that they are not guaranteed anonymity,” Ms Sullivan said.

While it is not an offence to access the website, it is an offence to import or attempt to import a border controlled drug or prohibited weapons into Australia from this website.

Individuals who import border controlled drugs face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and/or a $825,000 fine.


Media enquiries:
AFP National Media (02) 6131 6333
Customs and Border Protection (02) 6275 6793