Recently, the Indian Narcotics Control Bureau busted a drug trafficking racket in Bengaluru , India, confiscating 145 ecstasy / MDMA pills and more than 220k INR cash.
Narcotics Control Bureau Deputy Director [Operations] K P S Malhotra revealed,
“In follow up action, the team seized 96 pills of MDMA and 180 LSD blots at Nikoo homes in Bengaluru. Later, a lady drug supplier who had been the main kingpin of the case was intercepted and 270 pills of MDMA were recovered from her house at Dodagubbi, Bengaluru.”
Furthermore, the investigation also revealed that the accused had placed the order of MDMA pills online in exchange for Bitcoins.
MDMA, LSD, and cannabis are some of the most popular darknet drugs. The public appetite for it has continued to flourish even in times of crisis, and the Covid-19 pandemic is no exception. This was evident from the fact that online drug sales on the platform showed consistent growth.
Recent years have witnessed a dramatic growth in the sale of a variety of illicit substances, especially on the darknet drug marketplaces. Online sales are projected to rise exponentially due to several factors at play such as internet availability, evolving technology as well as the profusion of social media.
Since cryptocurrency enables direct and anonymous transactions without any oversight, online buyers and vendors were able to transfer funds anonymously without getting detected.
Seven years ago, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation agents busted into a San Francisco Public Library to arrest the mastermind behind Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht. Despite the modern darknet market’s shut down, the purchase of illicit drugs, weapons, and other illegal goods using Bitcoin continues.
While darknet markets are havens for software such as TOR which provides anonymous communication, law enforcement officials have, time, and again, successfully leveraged new techniques to identify buyers and sellers across these marketplaces.
Meanwhile, Chainalysis’s recent crypto crime report for 2019 revealed that the total darknet market sales grew 70% in 2019 to over $790 million worth of cryptocurrency. This was the first time when the sales have crossed $600 million. In addition, for the first time since 2015, darknet markets increased their share of overall incoming cryptocurrency transactions, doubling from 0.04% in 2018 to 0.08% in 2019.
Despite the rise, the total share of incoming cryptocurrency activity remains quite low at 0.08% but among the most vibrant underground economies that exist in darknet markets, drugs continues to rule the realm.