Two men and women from South Australia ran a darknet vendor shop on Dark0de that made $25,000 Australian Dollars every day. The trio was arrested back in November 2021 and are finally receiving their sentences now.
Underlinecost = Booker, Gold, and Tucker
Underlinecost was one of the largest narcotics vendors in Australia during its prime. Behind the scenes were three members.
Thomas James Booker: 27-year-old man, a former South Australia Police(SAPOL) cop with severe cocaine addiction. Booker resigned from his position as an officer soon after his wife mysteriously went missing in 2018 (her body was found in 2019)
Erin Gold: A 33-year-old woman, an accountant and burlesque dancer that lived with and was in a relationship with Booker
Ryan Jordan Suri-Tucker: A 25-year-old who was paid $5000 a month to store the narcotics in his grandmothers basement in Adelaide, Southern Australia.
Although Booker primarily ran the operation, his accomplices would often help to distribute the drugs. Booker controlled the Underlinecost darknet vendor profile on the Darknet Marketplace “Dark0de” (Dark0de exit scammed in 2022.)
According to the SA Police News report, the vendor was making over $25,000 Australian Dollars every day by selling large quantities of LSD, cocaine, cannabis, steroids, and other drugs. The profile received thousands of orders, primarily during the lockdown and quarantine from Covid 19. Although Booker claimed that he wanted to “end the operation.” It was impossible as he claimed he was spending $6,700 a-week on his cocaine addiction.
The operation came to an end after an intense investigation by the Financial and Cybercrime Investigation Branch, High Tech Crime Section.
Investigations and Arrest
After a lengthy investigation of the FCIB and HTCS (as above) monitoring drug trafficking activities on the dark web, they connected an intercepted package to the Underlinecost vendor.
The investigation and arrest of the trio began with the interception of a package containing 8,000 LSD tabs from Germany. Using this as an opportunity, Australian law enforcement traced the phone number on the package to a mailbox.
Here the team observed as Booker dropped off various packages. When identifying the packages that could belong to the “Underlinecost” vendor from Dark0de, undercover law enforcement officers purchased drugs from the vendor.
After matching the accounts and Booker, the police also managed to identify fingerprints on the packages that belonged to Booker and one of his co-conspirators, Ryan Suri-Tucker. A poor mistake from a darknet vendor.
Monday, 22 November 2021, the police raided a Kings Park property and arrested both Tucker and Booker. They were found sitting at a desk together with drugs piled up around them, including a commercial quantity of LSD and trafficable quantities of cocaine, cannabis, and MDMA.
At the same time, the police found a ledger book that appeared to be a record of every sale, including the amounts and tracking numbers. The police estimated that they were turning over about $25,000 a day. Later that day, they also arrested Erin Gold while at a burlesque concert.
When police attended the address they found the pair sitting at a desk together in front of a computer with an open TOR session, which is access to the dark web, open into the vendor account of Underline Costs with a list of unfilled orders. There were drugs seized at that location, including a commercial quantity of LSD and trafficable quantities of cocaine, cannabis, and MDMA.
Those items were on the table in front of them. Some of them had been divided into smaller quantities ready for delivery. Also on the table in front of them packaged ready to be shipped in Australia Post packages. There was also a ledger book, which appeared to be a record of every sale including the amount and tracking number. It appears this was all run as a business. Police estimate they were turning over about $25,000 a day.According court documents
Assets Seized From The Arrest
The arrest and take down of Underlinecost was both a victory and a huge payday for South Australian Law Enforcement. During the arrest and further investigations, the following assets were seized(Values in Australian Dollars).
- $1 million in cash
- $700,000 in BTC/XMR
- $150,000 worth of cocaine, LSD, cannabis, and steroids
- Two residential properties and a sports motorcycle, collectively valued at $1.27 million.
At the time of the arrest, this marked Australia’s largest-ever seizure of cryptocurrency.
Prosecuting Darknet Vendors.
Soon after the arrest, all three accomplices appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court. Both Booker and Tucker remained in custody until their most recent hearing. However, Gold is attempting to wrangle her way out of the situation.
Booker plead guilty to over 50 offences, including commercial drug trafficking and money laundering, selling cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy, and hallucinogens in online deals from two Adelaide houses between February 2021 and November 2022. Because of this, he has been sentenced to 21 years in jail for his involvement in trading drugs on the darknet markets.
Because his co-accused, Ryan Jordan Suri-Tucker, had a lesser role in the drug trafficking process, he received a sentence at the lower end of the scale. Tucker was sentenced to five years and ten months. He will be eligible for parole after serving two years and six months of the sentence.
Erin Gold is in the process of fighting her charges.
The involvement of Ms. Gold is in effect because of her association with her partner, one of the co-accused. She was not at that location when the arrest occurred. Ms. Gold was arrested at her workplace where she was undergoing full-time employment. In my submission, her connection to Mr. Booker is the basis for her being charged.Erin Gold’s Lawyer
After multiple years of running a top-tier drug trafficking operation, Booker began to slack in his operations. He left fingerprints on his packages, used the same mailbox regularly, used a mobile number on parcels that traced back to him, and used his own stash. There is clear evidence that the Cybercrimes team from Southern Australia were happy to spy on the crew in their operations, and this was a massive victory for their law enforcement.
Hey there, I’m a dark web geek who’s been around for the last 8 years. More precisely, I’m livedarknet’s senior content writer who’s been writing about darknet marketplaces, tutorials, and cybersecurity stuff for educational purposes.