Australian authorities have made a significant breakthrough after weeks of investigating dark web-associated crimes within its borders.
For weeks, the Australian Border Police (ABP) has been spying on some criminals who specialize in buying drugs in darknet markets.
According to investigators, an unnamed woman who allegedly purchased MDMA and fentanyl on the dark web has been arrested.
A police spokesperson warned that individuals caught perpetrating crimes relating to drugs would face the stiff action of the law.
The police also revealed that they are now focusing on channeling their investigations through the dark web where most criminals carry out their activities with the hope of staying off the focus of the investigative agency.
After the successful arrest, it came to the attention of the authorities that focus should now be intensified into how the dark web is playing a significant role in facilitating drug-related crimes.
The local police have also partnered with other international agencies and allies, such as those in the U.S., to track down the flow of cash through the dark web and how such transactions are facilitating the sale of drugs in the international markets.
As is stated in a press release from the ABP, the suspect was found to have allegedly used Bitcoin to facilitate the transactions relating to the purchase of drugs. A search conducted in the woman’s home revealed how she was using her computer to facilitate the purchase of drugs.
For law enforcement investigators, cryptocurrencies are becoming an everyday consideration when it comes to cracking down on the growing sale of drugs in darknet markets.
For instance, whereas most of the transactions are done online, there are numerous anonymity tools which the individuals use to avoid leaving telltale signs that could be an easy give-away to law enforcement.
The Bigger Picture
The problem of the use of cryptocurrencies in darknet transactions relating to the sale of opioids is not new to authorities and governments in other parts of the world.
The U.S. has been on the forefront in the fight against the issue. In recent moves made by the U.S. government in the bid to tame the vice, lawmakers called for strict regulations to contain the manner in which cryptocurrencies were used within its borders.
Being unregulated and lacking any backing from any national central bank, these currencies have become a central means of facilitating illegal crimes, such as the sale of drugs and guns.
While the U.S. government has offered official statements denouncing the validity of the cryptocurrencies, little has and can be done towards controlling the manner in which these currencies flow in the markets.
This is because the virtual-based currencies are transacted through online channels which, in most cases, can go unnoticed through the eyes of authorities.
The U.S. is facing a crippling opioid epidemic at the present moment. According to national statistics, over 2 million Americans are adversely affected by the use of opioids to a level that they have become highly dependent. In 2016, the annual opioid overdose death toll stood at 63,600 individuals—that’s an average of 115 Americans on a daily basis.
Recent additional reports also attributed the U.S. opioid crisis to the use of cryptocurrencies whereby drug dealers have been using Bitcoins to avoid detection.
Another recent case involving the online sale of opioids led to more revelations on how the dark web was being used as a platform of choice for both national and international drug sales.
Following investigations, Utah drug kingpin Aaron Shamo was found to have amassed over 10 million in Bitcoin solely derived from the sale of opioids through the dark web.
It is individuals like Shamo selling to suspected buyers, such as the Australian woman, that led the police to crack the case to reveal more insights about the global darknet drug trade.
A Problem Beyond Boundaries
With the U.S. and other Western nations reeling from the effects of drugs upon the society, other nations such as Australia and Asian countries have joined the fray in calling for more resources to be availed in the fight.
The latest of such calls were recently aired by Lee Nak-yeon, the South Korean Prime Minister who expressed his concerns that the young people in his nation are increasingly being lured into crime.
With the youth populations being a central point of focus on the economy, Nak-Yeon lamented that the lucrative-yet-illegal use of cryptocurrencies in facilitating the sale of drugs could cripple the economy to a large extent.
The Prospected Way Forward
With the investigations being run by the U.S., Korean and Australian agencies into the manner—in which cryptocurrencies have become a craze in the dark web’s business of dealing opioids—more emphasis is expected into the near future.
The U.S. is particularly now focusing on inserting undercover investigators into the dark web to pose as buyers of cryptos and opioids to help arrest culprits.
However, with the dealers and buyers all alike becoming aware of the risks associated with untrusted merchants through the dark web, it is anticipated that either side would intensify their bids to strengthen their objectives.
However, it is clear that more and more nations are becoming more active in the fight against illegal activities facilitated through the dark web.