Three people accused of selling and distributing drugs worth more than $17 million operating from the South Coast have been charged in what police believe is the "first and largest penetration of the dark web" in Australia.
A 25-year-old Callala Beach man, a 24-year-old Callala Bay woman and a 20-year-old woman from Quakers Hill were arrested on Thursday.
Police will allege in court that the man was selling illegal drugs and prescription medications on the dark web.
The women are accused of helping the man to package and post the items, which included MDMA, LSD and methamphetamine, to buyers across Australia.
An initial analysis of the vendor cryptocurrency wallets indicates that more than $17 million had been transacted in recent years.
It came after detectives uncovered a "sophisticated online drug distribution network" operating from the South Coast.
"This is probably the first and largest penetration of the dark web in Australia and it's resulted in taking out a syndicate who have dealt around $17 million of drugs across the nation," Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith told reporters in Sydney on Friday.
"NSW Police Force has some of the most sophisticated technology and resources at our disposal; you can no longer try to hide the peddling of poisons on the Dark Web."
The arrests come after Strike Force Royden was established in April to investigate criminal networks involved in the supply of illicit drugs in the state.
Detectives from the State Crime Command’s Criminal Groups Squad worked with investigators from South Coast Police District and the Cybercrime Squad. Australia Post also assisted with the investigation.
Strike force detectives carried out five search warrants at 11am on Thursday.
Following raids on five properties across the NSW south coast and Sydney on Thursday morning, officers recovered 2.5kg of white powder, 200g of MDMA, more than 100,000 LSD tabs and a significant quantity of Xanax made to look like candy, Acting Assistant Commissioner Smith said.
Sophisticated computer equipment, more than $80,000 cash and several vehicles including a Maserati and a Mercedes-Benz were also seized.
All three are charged with large commercial drug distribution offences and were refused bail to appear at Nowra Local Court on Friday.