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June 27, 2014

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Police adopt drug user disguises to bust online dealing network

SHANGHAI police pretended to be drug users, posting footage of themselves with drug-taking equipment, in order to win the trust of an online dealing network.

Having infiltrated the nationwide operation, city officers helped bust it, leading to more than 300 suspects being held locally and 25 kilograms of drugs seized, police said yesterday.

According to city police, the network involved more than 2,400 people across the country.

It was first detected by an officer in Jiading District last November, when a suspicious video chat advertisement popped up during an “online patrol.”

Clicking the ad, the officer was directed to a video of people taking drugs.

To win the trust of network members, the officer and colleagues disguised themselves as drug users. They bought bottles and pipes like those used by drug takers and shot videos of themselves.

Once accepted by the suspects’ QQ instant messaging group, officers found its members were also active in three video chat websites, through which drug transactions took place.

A network organizer appointed regional organizers who paid him 5,000 yuan (US$803) a month. In return, they charged members in their areas “membership fees” and sold them virtual money.

Website members exchanged drug-taking information and experiences on the platform. Drug dealers used the websites as online markets to conduct deals, said police.

Shanghai police informed the Ministry of Public Security and sought help from police in other areas.

By June 20, local police had held 305 people involved in the network in connection with 60 drug-related cases.

They seized 24.4kg of drugs and 34,600 yuan (US$5,557).

Meanwhile, local police incinerated 1.3 tons of drugs in Fengxian District yesterday.

This haul included heroin, cannabis methamphetamine, methadone and ecstasy, according to police.


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