'Mastermind' imported drugs via dark web

Dov Tenenboim, 35, has pleaded guilty to importing and trafficking drugs using the dark web.
Dov Tenenboim, 35, has pleaded guilty to importing and trafficking drugs using the dark web.

A criminal "mastermind" who used cryptocurrency over the dark web to purchase illicit substances concealed in soup tins and candles, ran a sophisticated wholesale and retail drug business, a Sydney court has heard.

Dov Tenenboim, 35, has pleaded guilty to importing and trafficking a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs, and two counts of possessing a prohibited drug.

Tenenboim masterminded a drug importation business where he jointly trafficked large quantities of drugs in Australia between 2017 and 2018, crown prosecutor Adam McGrath said on Tuesday.

"He had a sophisticated wholesale and retail drug distribution business....he would supply both larger criminal groups, and smaller individual customers," Mr McGrath said.

Tenenboim's international counterpart whom he met on a dark web drug marketplace cannot be named for legal reasons.

Tip-offs for vacant houses and rental properties in the eastern suburbs of Sydney would be given to Tenenboim by a real estate agent, the court heard.

He would then make arrangements for the drugs including cocaine, MDMA and Ketamine, which were typically produced in the Netherlands, to be picked up and redistributed.

While the self-described "creative technologist, disruptor and entrepreneur" admits importing and trafficking "at least" a commercial quantity of drugs, he disputes a large quantity he's accused of dealing in.

Tenenboim contends his connection with a large amount of drugs found in the hotel room of his international business associate who was arrested in Sydney.

The man said he was tasked with "stepping into the role" of Tenenboim, and given a 10 per cent "franchise fee" on top of the money he made from first selling Tenenboim the drugs, while he was in South Africa, he told the court.

But Tenenboim says while he was overseas for that month he was unaware of large quantities of drugs imported and distributed during his absence.

The sentence hearing continues before Judge Ian McClintock in the District Court.

Australian Associated Press