The development of the Internet and the enhancement of the technological infrastructures supporting the use of the Internet for all e-commerce activities have de facto laid the foundations for the appearance of a new «self-made” criminal business in the field of drug trafficking. As a result, both criminals and persons with no criminal records can now sell drugs and make remarkable profits.
By monitoring the Internet and looking for sites and forums dealing with on-line drug sale, the Drug@ OnLine Section can have an updated overview of national and international scenarios of drug trafficking and it can develop an effective activity which is the core of the investigations concerning this field carried out by local units.
The investigations carried out and the analysis of the phenomenon identified:
differences in terms of incidence between the open web and the deep web or dark web, where users can have access to only by means of dedicated anonymity software (T.O.R.);
– deep web and dark web areas where “Black Markets”, like silkroad, dream market, etc., offer a wide-range of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances like heroin, synthetic drugs, precursors and doping substances.
Through dedicated forums it is possible to contact vendors and/or exchange opinions on products and shipping methods. The currency used for such transactions is mainly Bitcoins, even though – particularly in the case of open web – traditional forms of payment can be used.
Investigations carried out by the Drug@OnLine section highlighted, so far, the following aspects:
– senders are mostly linked to fake and, sometimes, unknown addresses. Deliveries originate in most cases in Germany, close to the border with Holland. It is to assume that deliverers located in those
areas cross the borders in order to use the German post offices for their shipping;
– whereas receivers are:
sometimes unknown to the databases of law enforcement offices;
often drug addicts or pushers;
fictitious names or strawmen. They use traditional shipping companies like UPS, SDA, DHL or virtual mailing services like Indabox, Mail Boxes etc., where parcels are sent to maiboxes rent at newsagents or to other mail pickup locations.
At present the Drug@online section is supporting and coordinating 85 investigations in this field but so far, no objective link between buyers/vendors and organized crime has been identified.