Douppikauppa is Scandinavia’s biggest darknet vendor who has been selling on Valhalla since 2013. He gave a rare and intimate interview to Arman Alizad for Arman’s new book, telling how he created his darknet empire from nothing. Arman is an international media celebrity best known for his TV series “Kill Arman” which has aired in over 100 countries. The interview was exclusively translated for DeepDotWeb.
Arman: Tell me about your background.
DK: I am 30 years old with a university background. I earn well in my legal day job, so money has never been an issue.
Arman: What was your attitude towards drugs before?
DK: Using drugs back then was unordinary and hidden, and I didn’t spend time with people who did drugs. For long I thought that I don’t want to mess up my head with drugs, although I fully accepted doing it, if someone chose to do so. Only after becoming an adult my friend made me familiar with LSD. After trying it once I couldn’t help but be amazed at how wrong the drug education I received at school was. The substance wasn’t at all “intoxicating” in the same sense as alcohol or painkillers. It just helped me feel and think in whole different ways. After trying out other drugs I noticed that they have really varying effects so having a general classification for drugs seems extremely absurd. It’s like putting coffee and champagne in the same group, since they both are psychoactive substances.
Arman: Why and when did you become a darknet vendor on Valhalla?
DK: At first there was an idea that there must be a supply of better various psychedelics for Finnish people. The online market for stimulants was rising and back then a few years ago Valhalla (back then known as Silkkitie) had just been opened. I and my friend were able to acquire substances a lot cheaper than the steady prices in Finland. Online trading seemed like a perfect distribution channel, so we gathered 10 000 euros to start with and used the whole sum to buy drugs. That got us a lot of LSD and other drugs, from which we got our money back tenfold when we sold them in Finland. This way the funding was guaranteed and by using all of the profits to upscale our business we soon became the largest online shop for drugs in Scandinavia. We have been able to practice our ideology by giving out thousands of LSD blotters for free.
Arman: Describe the everyday life of a drug dealer.
DK: Otherwise I live a completely normal life, but at some point of the day I have to sneak away to take care of the drug business. Since I’m only doing wholesale, I don’t have to spend a lot of time with the business. Hiring merchants to take care of the delivery and packaging of smaller orders really was a life saver because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do this in secret. I also wouldn’t be able to take care of all of the orders just by myself.
Arman: How many people are working at your merchant shops, Douppi-, Ekstaasi-, Stimu- ja Trippikauppa?
DK: We have 10 employees, all of whom get quite a decent living from this. There’s no telling of the exact numbers, since in our organization nobody can know everything. A few people have already retired after earning enough.
Arman: Where did you find the employees for Douppikauppa?
DK: Mainly through the Tor network. There have been many interested people but only a couple meet the criteria.
Arman: How many orders do you get per day?
DK: There are a couple of big bulk orders a week. Our other stores deliver tens of smaller orders each day.
Arman: What is the delivery time for drugs like?
DK: No matter the size of the order, the fastest we can deliver is same day delivery as a terrain cache or next day delivery by post.
Arman: Have you always sold on the Internet or did it start on the streets?
DK: I have never sold drugs outside of the Internet even though I’m quite familiar with the community. Trading face to face is a risk that we at Douppikauppa don’t want to take.
Arman: What is the biggest order that you have processed?
DK: Biggest single orders are tens of thousands of euros.
Arman: Do you have regular customers?
DK: Many. Some people describe their experiences vividly and you learn to know their writing styles, even if their nick names might change.
Arman: What happens if someone has a debt?
DK: We never sell on credit. Otherwise, we proportion the size of the order we order or deliver depending on the amount of credit the client has, so that we never lose money even if they never pay their debt or we don’t ship the drugs. On the other hand, continuing to do business has to be more beneficial for the person with the debt, than just disappearing with the money. When operating anonymously there aren’t many ways to collect the money, unless our products are being seen sold on the streets, in which case the word will get around fairly fast.
Arman: Has anyone owed money to you? If so, how much was the biggest debt?
DK: 25,000 euros is the largest sum that we have lost but there have been debts bigger than that.
Arman: How does the terrain cache delivery work?
DK: We package the delivery and the courier will find a suitable place for it, after which the buyer will get instructions on how to find it.
Arman: Do you use it only with bigger orders?
DK: A terrain cache can be bought for a fee of 100 euros. Despite the high price it is sometimes used for smaller orders too since the delivery time is faster.
Arman: How does the delivery by post work?
DK: The deliveries are packaged in envelopes odourlessly and so that you can’t feel what is inside of it. The envelopes are sent using letterboxes that don’t have camera surveillance. When the courier visits the letterbox he doesn’t take a phone with him so no location information is being logged.
Arman: What kind of risks are involved and how do you minimize them?
DK: To minimize the risks the envelopes are packaged differently and they are sent using different letterboxes. So if a envelope would be caught the police could not easily stop the other deliveries that were sent on the same day. Also if they were watching the letterbox the next day it would not benefit them. We are coming up with some very creative packaging ideas for both the envelopes and the terrain caches. Our clients like it when we really go to the extremes with the packaging even if it wasn’t needed to avoid the police. The best terrain cache is one that is fully visible but doesn’t attract the attention of outsiders.
Arman: Do you have any particularly positive experiences of your career as a dealer?
DK: It is fucking awesome to be successful like this and to be able to live your dream! It is more addictive than any drug. One thing that I can mention is meeting one of the biggest drug dealers in Europe. You get to meet that kind of people only when you are shopping with a lot of money. Instead of a gangster that we all know from movies awaiting me was just an ordinary guy, although he seemed to be pretty successful. At some point of the conversation he misunderstood me a little when I asked where can he possibly spend all that money and he started to tell me how you can laundry the money through legal business. For me the problem never was the money laundering but what I would buy with all the money!
Arman: What has being a drug dealer taught you?
DK: Leading and organization skills. Understandably it can get a little high-strung every once in a while but all the situations must be conciliated.
Arman: What kind of negative experiences have you had because of your work?
DK: Covering up has been psychologically exhausting. I would like to tell everything about everything to the people near me although I know it would not be wise.
Arman: Do you yourself use drugs?
DK: I have tried almost all drugs available though most of them only once. I use only substances from which I feel like I get a permanent boost in life – not just a high for a moment.
Arman: Have you been addicted to any drug?
DK: No I haven’t.
Arman: Do you sell anything other than drugs?
DK: We have only been selling drugs and accessories. We want to stay completely away from dealing with stolen goods, personal data, lotteries or anything else that scammers favor. Although expanding the business the firearms might be possible.
Arman: Has any of your employees been caught with dealing drugs?
DK: The closest call has been for one of our contacts in the Netherlands. And a couple of groups have been caught on darknet because of dealing on the streets.
Arman: How many of the people near you know about your business on Valhalla?
DK: To the people near me I live a completely different life. Although a few know about my drug usage, not even my wife knows that I am a big darknet dealer.
Arman: How do you make sure that you don’t get caught?
DK: The police is completely powerless against doing business online so I can be somewhat at ease. Of course, the possibility of getting caught is something we have taken into account. To anyone who knows about things it is clear that if the police were to interrogate them, you say nothing. The trial of Aarnio is something that you should learn from. The risks from the inside have been minimized by making sure that not even the employees of Douppikauppa know each other.
Arman: How does the Tor network work and do you use any other encryption?
DK: The traffic of the Tor Browser is impossible to monitor from the network. For example, the cyber surveillance that is being planned in Finland, will only be effective for unencrypted browsing and emails, not Tor connections. So sites like Valhalla and their users are safe from cyber surveillance. Conscious users also encrypt the contents of their hard drive. Using encryption nowadays is easy and it also protects you from theft. Even if you don’t think you have anything you should keep a secret on your computer, losing all of the data on your computer to an attacker may hurt you a lot.
Arman: How likely do you think it is that you will at some point get caught?
DK: I don’t think that I will get caught. Then again, neither probably do many other criminals. I am however prepared to a visit by the police and even going to jail if it comes to that. Policies must of course constantly be analyzed and improved so that the gap to the police doesn’t disappear and so that the clients stay safe too. Being afraid has no place in this business.
Arman: Is it beneficial for you that selling drugs is illegal?
DK: The very fact that drugs are illegal makes it possible to have such large margins. If the business was legal the taxman would take his cut and it wouldn’t be possible for anyone to become rich by selling drugs. For us it’s of course best that we keep the prohibition. However I support the legislation of all drugs since it is a better option for the society.
Arman: What is your attitude in general towards laws and how important do you think it is that the society defines the rules and the legislation?
DK: Laws made from moral viewpoints where the crime has no victim should be removed. Everyone should have the freedom and responsibility to decide about their own matters, as long as it does not hurt others.
Arman: What is your relation with your clients like?
DK: Sometimes I see that the client is my friend or my neighbor whose drug usage was before unknown to me. They also have no idea that they are ordering from me.
Arman: What do you think about people with a drug addiction?
DK: Usually behind an addiction there are other problems that are being drowned with drugs. Organized people are able to keep it in control and you may not notice even if they are using drugs regularly. Drug addicts are not good customers. They often have money problems and they try to get discounts. The best clients are people who use moderately, who definitely make up for the majority of our client base. They order bigger quantities and they stick with what we have agreed on.
Arman: Should drugs be legalized? If yes, why?
DK: All drugs should be legalized. There have been positive experiences in Portugal and surprisingly the drug usage among young people is even lower than before. Especially the crimes and social problems regarding drugs have almost completely disappeared. The government could also have a good income with taxes from selling drugs legally, like they do with alcohol and tobacco.
Arman: Would it affect your operation?
DK: It is possible that I would have to shut the business down since the margins would be too low. I’m sure that some of the illegal sellers would keep doing it even if there were legal stores. If just the usage of drugs was legalized and not the selling of drugs, that would mean that the dealing of drugs would still remain in the hands of the criminals.
Arman: You give away quality drugs and psychedelics on Valhalla for free to people who would not otherwise try them. Why do you do this?
DK: We believe that using psychedelics in large scale is beneficial for everyone. They improve creativity and the quality of life. There is also scientific proof of the benefits of psychedelics in the treatment of mental diseases and addictions because they can be used to break locked thought cycles.
Arman: Do you believe in the gate theory?
DK: The argument in gate theory is that a person who tries cannabis ends up using so called hard drugs. This is backed up by the fact that a majority of people who use hard drugs have also tried cannabis before. The logic behind this argument however is wrong and respectively we could say that alcohol is a gateway drug because most people have started their use of intoxicants with alcohol. Better availability and general acceptance explain the popularity of alcohol and cannabis, but most of their users don’t end up using harder drugs. There is some truth in the gate theory in the sense that once an individual notices that the drug education is completely false concerning one drug, he may become interested in other drugs more easily.
Arman: If you notice that your client is clearly having issues with controlling his usage, do you advise him to stop?
DK: In some cases I have recommended lowering the usage or finding other solutions to his problems.
Arman: Have you ever refused to sell?
DK: No. A person has to be responsible for himself and not outsource the responsibility to a drug dealer or the society. In our product descriptions we explain the effects of the substances and also if they are addictive.
Arman: What about the moral aspect? What do you think about selling something that in some cases destroys the lives of people?
DK: I don’t think that I am destroying anyone’s life. The people with an addiction would get their fix from a street dealer if they weren’t easily available online. An illegal drug just may be a better option than overusing alcohol. Most of all I hope that people who aren’t satisfied with their lives would find real solutions to their problems so that they wouldn’t have to be intoxicated all the time. The most addictive drug in our selection is amphetamine but getting off from it easier than from alcohol or tobacco after you have used them for a long time.
Arman: Are you satisfied that you started doing business as a drug dealer?
Arman: What is your view on the future? Are you going to continue / stop selling drugs in the future? When and why?
DK: Everything has a time and place and when everything has been seen, it’s time to move forward to new challenges. When the time comes I’m going to do it so, that the clients won’t even notice that Douppikauppa has a new owner.
Arman: If you could write a letter to the 15 year old you, what would you write?
DK: Learn to enjoy breaking boundaries and bravely try everything that is unfamiliar to you. There are more options in life than you can possibly imagine and straying from the path only makes you stronger as a person. Learn to know yourself, the whole spectrum of feelings, and your passion.