A recently published report by the Mexican Federal Police shows that not all drug buyers on the dark web have a criminal record.
On the contrary, on average, consumers who purchase illegal drugs over the internet are typically young people aged between 17 and 32, who don’t have a history of breaking the law.
This new information is referring to Mexican buyers and displays a new perspective in portraying the profiles of darknet users.
The so-called “millennials” buy psychoactive substances, stimulants, and hallucinogens, which are mostly sold through the dark web and social media networks.
The report shows that these young Mexicans, including teenagers, have no previous records of criminal activities and belong mostly to the middle and upper classes.
Additionally, the buyers have certain computer skills, which help them in staying hidden on the internet without revealing their true identity while purchasing drugs.
Payments for these illicit purchases are usually made through online money transfers or with credit cards, the report shows. Often the buyers pay with cryptocurrencies, as it is a more anonymous method of payment.
A Growing Trend in the Cyber World
Member countries of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS) agreed that this illegal trade has become a rising trend in the cyber world. In their 63rd regular session, CICAD warned of the increase in selling drugs on the network.
In the last 10 years, more than 700 new types of deadly drugs have emerged, with 400 of them commercialized on the dark web.
The Anti-Drug Division of the Federal Police recently announced that in Mexico, 15 types of drugs are currently being sold online, including LSD, Mescaline, DOC, and cannabis.
The prices vary depending on the substance but usually cost around $130 MXN per piece and $200 MXN per gram.
Besides the dark web, social media platforms such as Facebook are widely used for selling illegal drugs. Vendors list their products on Facebook groups and contact the buyers in private messages.
Once a request has been made, the buyer has to provide the necessary delivery information, such as an address and a telephone number.
After receiving a bank number, the buyer has to make the payment and send out a picture with the payment receipt to the vendor.
The drugs are packed with discretion and often vacuum sealed. They are usually delivered to the customers, mostly by using courier services.
The fact that these packages are small and can easily go undetected allows for rapid development and diversification of the illegal market, warned the Federal Police.
The Perfect Opportunity for Organized Crime Groups
While the dark web and social media platforms are primarily used by individuals for illegal drug trades, a new concern has been raised.
According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), organized crime groups are more present on the internet now. Many Mexican cartels are now using the dark web to sell drugs.
These groups operate mostly in Mexico and the nearby territories, however, they also ship to other countries including the U.S.
Regulation Instead of Prohibition
The drug business is unlikely to stop unless there is a new regulatory framework, says Leopoldo Rivera Rivera, chairman of the Mexican Association for the Study of Cannabis (AMECA).
In an interview for the Mexican newspaper El Universal, Rivera claimed that prohibition is not the best way to go, as new chemical products are produced on a daily basis.
He further explains that considering a new regulatory framework, which will include every narcotic drug, might deeply affect the illegal market online.
The rising trend of creating new narcotics is a product of the prohibition of drugs such as cocaine or marijuana, argues Rivera. With a legal framework, the Mexican government could avoid this.
And while drug trafficking over the dark web still plays a small part in the overall revenue, the online transactions have experienced a huge increase over the years.
The typical recreational users purchase mostly cannabis, ecstasy, and cocaine.