A Sydney man, who described himself as an “elite hacker”, has been jailed for 16 years for masterminding a scheme to import large volumes of illicit drugs from Europe via the dark web and to distribute them to customers across the eastern seaboard.
Dov Tenenboim, 36, was nabbed by police during a dramatic raid on his Vaucluse apartment in June 2018 after a member of his syndicate informed on him and sparked a five-month-long investigation.
The informant, given the pseudonym Mike Allen by the court, was employed by Tenenboim to carry out his drug distribution business while he holidayed in South Africa for a month in 2017.
While he was overseas, Tenenboim would communicate with Mr Allen via the encrypted message service Wickr, discussing the distribution of thousands of MDMA pills, along with significant quantities of cocaine and ketamine.
After the drugs were imported from Europe via the post, they would arrive at various addresses in the eastern suburbs and be picked up by Tenenboim’s agents, who would sell them to customers in NSW, Queensland and Victoria, and, on one occasion, South Australia.
Although he was charged with 45 offences after his arrest, Tenenboim eventually pleaded guilty to two: conducting a business of importing border controlled drugs above a commercial quantity and jointly trafficking border controlled drugs above a commercial quantity.
In the NSW District Court on Monday, Judge Ian McClintock found that drugs located in Mr Allen’s apartment – including nearly 4500 MDMA tablets and more than 300 grams of Bolivian and Colombian cocaine, along with a brick press and more than five grams of liquid MDMA – “no doubt” belonged to Tenenboim, whose DNA was found on a cigarette butt in an ashtray of the home.
Police also intercepted a consignment of drugs concealed within “mundane imports”, including tins of soup and baby formula.
The imported consignment comprised a “significant” quantity of drugs – namely, two kilograms of cocaine, 500 grams of MDMA and a kilogram of ketamine – but Judge McClintock noted this was the tip of the iceberg regarding Tenenboim’s “sophisticated” operation.
“These amounts were several times the commercial quantity,” he said, but there was “no doubt the offender [imported] … significantly more”.
“The vast majority of drugs were not intercepted and were distributed to the community.”
Tenenboim’s enterprise of importation and distribution “was certainly successful enough to get around detection by using the mail system” and also employed “relatively sophisticated ruses in order to avoid detection of the items and their delivery”, Judge McClintock said.
But it was also “conducted in a somewhat blasé manner”.
Judge McClintock said that, as the ringleader and “primary financial beneficiary”, Tenenboim’s moral culpability for the crime was “at a high level”.
He handed him an aggregate sentence of 16 years and four months’ jail, with a non-parole period of 10 years and six months.
Tenenboim did not react to the sentence but replied, “Yes, your honour, I do,” when asked if he understood it. He will be eligible for parole on December 6, 2028.
Tenenboim’s schoolfriend and failed denim entrepreneur Chaim Goldstein was sentenced in 2019 to two years for his role.
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