A 26-year-old Canberra woman has been charged with two counts of attempted murder and will face the ACT Magistrates court today.
ACT Policing allege the woman agreed to pay $20,000 over the dark web for the murder of two people who were known to her.
It is alleged the woman paid $6,000 in initial payments to a website believed to be fraudulent.
ACT Policing believe the motive was financial but could not confirm the nature of the relationship between the intended targets and the woman.
The incident was brought to the attention of ACT Policing by a UK journalist who was investigating the dark web.
The journalist contacted ACT Policing via email with details of the payment and targets.
It is believed the payment occurred in September; ACT Policing became aware of the alleged crime in October and a search warrant was executed by detectives in a residence in Fadden yesterday.
During the raid, computer items were seized and the female was arrested.
Detective Acting Sergeant Beth McMullen said although this was the first crime of this nature in the ACT, there had been an increase in internet-based crime in recent years.
“This is certainly an unusual matter for the ACT, but we have seen an increase in crime online and certainly on the dark web,” Detective Acting Sergeant Beth McMullen said.
“Police undertook a number of inquiries with international law enforcement and a number of our partner agencies.
“We do have a lot of experience in investigating online crime and we also have access to a number of cybercrime specialists.
“We obtained a lot of evidence that assisted us to make the arrest yesterday (7 December). A lot of that involved tracking her online activity and forensically examining her bank records.”
ACT Policing said they believe the website was fraudulent, meaning the intended targets were not likely to have been in danger; however, ACT Policing needed to be very conscious of the frame of mind of the woman.
“We were able to identify that website and we do not believe there is any further risk to the community.
“Police do not believe there are any other persons involved in the matter and don’t expect to make any further arrests.”
Detective Acting Sergeant Beth McMullen said the targets were unaware of the situation until it was raised with them by ACT Policing.
“The victims were very shocked and understandably concerned.”
The victims fully cooperated with police.
ACT Policing will continue to look into the other side of the equation, being the internet hosts.