Everyone knows by now how the deep web allows people from all over the world to buy and sell virtually anything. Drugs, weapons, credit card skimmers, and sensitive data are all very common on these underground marketplaces. But Croatian law enforcement believes some people are selling radium on the darknet, which would put a whole new spin on these markets.
The Deep Web Is Chemically Potent
There is a very big difference between selling weapons on the deep web, and vending chemical substances such as radium. Unlike your average AK-47, radium triggers various nuclear radiation alerts. Such a discovery was made in Croatia at the end of last month, as a border crossing station had its radiation alarms triggered. As it turns out, there were several boxes containing R-266 in a vehicle passing by the border crossing..
For those who are unaware of what this element does, it is a highly radioactive isomer of radium, which is a sub-element of uranium. The name uranium is more familiar to people, as it is used for all kinds of use cases, including nuclear weapons. The sale of radium is not entirely prohibited either, mind you, as distinct isomers are used for commercial and medical uses. But R-266 is not on that list, due to its high levels of radioactivity.
The woman driving this car past the Croatian border crossing admitted to obtaining these radium isotopes through illegal means. To be more precise, she claims the R-266 is needed for a highly criticized form of medical treatment. While R-223 has been approved for medical use – despite a lot of protests – R-266 has never been – and probably never will be – approved for treatments.
After investigators tried to uncover the source of the radium isotopes, they could draw only one conclusion: it has to be purchased from the deep web. Together with her husband, this woman has been actively scouring the darknet for R-266, and somehow managed to find a seller for it. How this vendor obtained this highly, radioactive material is anybody’s guess, for now.
What is rather intriguing is how there appear to be multiple vendors involved in this scheme. Police officials claim they have tracked down leads in both Germany and the Czech Republic. The majority of the purchased radium is hidden within jewelry, and shipments were made from these vendors to multiple countries where the items were then picked up and smuggled across borders.
For now, this investigation is still ongoing, and more details are expected to be unveiled in a few months. Deep web vendors offering radioactive material that can be used for nuclear weaponry is a very worrisome trend. We can only hope the vendors and their suppliers get arrested soon.
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