The drug trade has increased for the last few years, both online and on the street. Vendors and buyers find it interesting to trade drugs on the Darknet for several reasons including the safety of being anonymous on the Darknet. In 2017, drug dealers have embraced the Darknet head on as there is no such problem when making a delivery, or so they think. It is no surprise that drug traffic from the Darknet is in higher quantity now than every before.
In a survey conducted by the Global Drug Survey, about 9.3% of participants revealed that they purchased their drugs online, explaining a dramatic increase in drug sales online from 4.5% to 6.7% in 2015. Drugs purchased from the street witnessed a significant decrease from 46.3% in 2014 to 36.4% in 2016. While a lot of this reduction could be contributed to an improved local law enforcement, many dealers have simply changed their direction and moved their business online. According to the study, about 58% of drugs purchased were reported to have been online.
This sudden popularity for darknet marketplaces as a drug source is also for the buyer. However, it is very risky to receive drugs by post. It is easy but the risk involved is tremendous. Revealing one technique for packaging drug deliveries in a way that it will not be detected, dealers use vacuum seals. This is done to prevent odor and is then placed inside a DVD case to create the impression that the delivery is a present if put through an x-ray machine.
As the Darknet has become popular among the drug dealers, shipment by mail has also increased as the postal service remains the sole favorable choice for a drug delivery.
Will Kimbell, the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s resident agent in charge of the Lubbock office described the Darkweb as the Amazon of drug trafficking. Kimbell explained why opioids such as the fentanyl are mostly delivered to people through the mail and are very difficult to be detected due to the small quantities involved.
“You send an email, pay for it, and a couple weeks later you have 300 grams of fentanyl,” Kimbell said. “And you have a potential profit of a half-million dollars,” he added.
Kathryn Haun of the Justice Department linked the source of these deadly drugs to the Darknet.
“Drug dealing has become so involved with the dark web,” she said. “[It has] become such an important source of distribution for this sort of deadly drug and has enabled distribution channels that previously didn’t exist,” she added.
Opioid such as fentanyl is not as bulky as heroin, and enough fentanyl which can fit in a standard first-class envelope.
Juliette Kayyem, a National Security analyst spoke about the reason why opioids successfully make their way into the country. And dealers have noticed the lack of security too and have embraced the Darknet. Kayyem said:
We actually don’t require advance electronic data screening of mail, like, ‘who sent it,’ ‘who’s it going to,’ -what’s in it’ [and] the weight and quantity of materials. Once it enters this country, it’s essentially too late. People should think about it like airport security. All the screening of foreign travelers is done before they get on a plane because once they’re here, it’s impossible to stop it. We should do the same for the mail system.
If systems fortification is not ready yet, then it is advisable to control the high number of Opioid dealers by taking down these websites. Leslie R. Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said that “…[T]he global law enforcement community has innovated and collaborated to disrupt these ‘dark market’ websites, no matter how sophisticated or far-flung they have become,” Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department said.
It can, therefore, be said that Opioid dealers have embraced the Darknet, and the drug delivery by mail has increased, but efforts of authorities to fight against these is still in progress.