The former operator of Flugsvamp 2.0, Sweden’s longest-running darknet market, is now considered an international fugitive after escaping the country on the last day of his trial. Alexander Gustafsson, 30, is accused of being the principal architect and admin of the former market, which was open from 2015 to 2018. Like its predecessor, Flugsvamp 2.0 catered specifically to Swedish residents, used Bitcoin as its payment method, and was a drugs-only market.
Gustafsson is now considered to be one of Europe’s most wanted fugitives. In June 2022, he was sentenced to 11 years and 8 months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of 1,479 BTC – approx. $24.44 million at today’s prices – which is the sum he is believed to have profited during his time as market admin. Over 450,000 BTC addresses have been associated with transactions made on Flugsvamp 2.0, leading to law enforcement’s identification of thousands of buyers in Sweden.
Mugshot of Alexander Gustafsson. Source: Swedish Police Authority
Gustafsson was identified as the Flugsvamp 2.0 admin in 2018 but was initially acquitted of charges against him. A police investigation into his activities revealed that he lived a jet-setting life of luxury, frequently traveling around the world to exchange Bitcoin proceeds for cash. Among Gustafsson’s purchases were a Lamborghini, bought in Dubai, and extravagant stays in luxury hotels. He was granted an appeal after his June sentencing but took the opportunity provided by his release to flee the country.
A Swedish word, flugsvamp translates to fly agaric, which is a specific type of psychoactive mushroom. The first Flugsvamp darknet market was founded in Feb. 2014 as a means for Swedish residents to safely buy and sell drugs. It was shut down in Nov. 2014 during Operation Onymous, which dismantled other markets across Europe, as well. The most recent iteration of the market is Flugsvamp 4.0, which was founded in the second half of 2021 and is currently still in operation.