How baby-faced drug king pin was finally caught
HE was a wanted man by the FBI, Homeland Security, Interpol, Europol and the Secret Service but in the end it was the NSW Police who nabbed anonymous hacker "NSWGreat" who last year said he was "too good to be caught".
NSW Police say they have their man, the Silk Road of Australia's dark web, the Tony Montana of the online world, for selling drugs on the dark web.
Police arrested an unlikely looking drug syndicate king pin, baby-faced, podgy 25-year-old Cody Ronald Ward from the South Coast last Thursday.
They alleged Ward was the anonymous dark web figure "NSWGreat".
"NSWGreat" is infamous online for predicting an online scam before it happened, peddling drugs for more than six years and breaking the dark web rules by speaking to mainstream media.
The hacker would list his drugs for purchase on sites similar to eBay but on the dark web where everyone is anonymous.
In 2015 "NSWGreat" shot to international online notoriety after he posted on the online chat forum Reddit that customers on the dark web market place were being fleeced by the creators of the site.
He claimed at the time that the site's administration had stolen more than $30 million worth of cryptocurrency from customers.
"NSWGreat" rode the infamy after that, and became a go-to for selling drugs on the dark web.
"I've never had any face-to-face issues with the police, though I have had more than $400,000 worth of drugs seized by customs," he wrote on one Reddit thread in 2015.
"My first package was five blotters (paper squares) of LSD.
"I wasn't very nervous because I had a friend who introduced me to the whole thing and he walked me through it."
Speaking to reporters last August, "NSWGreat" was confident he would remain anonymous and not be caught.
He said he had received subpoenas from international law enforcement including the Department of Homeland Security, Interpol, Europol, FBI, and the Secret Service.
"I'm confident in my ability to stay anonymous as NSWGreat," he said at the time.
He claimed to live "on a salary similar to that of a CEO with much less work and definitely a lot more enjoyment".
Ward's Instagram account shows a lifestyle of glamour, use of cryptocurrency Bitcoin, his Maserati, outings to expensive restaurants and delivering flowers to his grandmother in hospital.
In one post he shares a thank you from cyber security company Trend Micro after Ward alerted the company to a flaw in its security system.
"#Hacker," Ward posted with the picture.
"NSWGreat" reviews on one of those sites Dream Market reveals he had made 110,000 sales since December 2015 and had a 4.96 out of five rating.
"Arrived on time with no hassles just as always with the same top quality, nswgreat (sic) is the best vendor around for sure!!," one reviewer posted.
But in five raids on Ward and his alleged associates on Thursday from Callala Beach to Quakers Hill police seized 2.5kgs of white powder, 200g of MDMA, over one hundred thousand tabs of acid, Xanax tablets, a Maserati and Mercedes Benz.
Police also seized "sophisticated computers", with $17 million in cryptocurrency and the dark web accounts "NSWGreat".
They have shutdown those sights with badges reading "seized by the NSW Police Force".
NSW Police Cyber Crime celebrated the biggest "dark web" penetration in Australian history, they claimed to have caught NSWGreat, the "principal reason" the squad was created.
Detective Superintendent Matt Craft said police officers made covert purchases from NSWGreat throughout their investigation.
"He was the principal target for NSW Police Cyber Crime Squad due to a risk assessment this gentleman posed, what he was doing and how he was operating," he said.
"Many of his strategies was to thwart the efforts of law enforcement in terms on encryption."
The Callala Beach man faced multiple supply drug charges at Nowra Local Court on Friday as well as co-accused sisters Shanese, 24, and Patricia, 20, Koullias.
Sisters Shanese, 24, and Patricia, 20, Koullias are accused of helping Ward fill the packages with cocaine, MDMA, ice, acid and prescription medication before posting them.
Inside those packages Ward allegedly left his calling card, a tab with a black moustache and "thank you so much" written below it.