New Zealand’s police agency has launched a major crackdown initiative to curb drug trafficking and abuse in the nation.
The reach of the illegal dark web trade has spread throughout the country, hence necessitating an immediate and rigorous crackdown.
The action, dubbed Operation Garden, aims at tracking down offenders who import drugs using the dark web.
However, unlike most crackdown operations, this particular one uses a unique approach. Operation Garden aims at providing supportive aid to prevent people from purchasing the drugs.
In addition to this, the operation seeks to enlighten people of the dangers that accompany abuse of drugs.
The Approach of the Operation
Now functioning in its third week, the operation has seen police officers visit over 80 addresses to curb the importation of illicit drugs.
Assistant Commissioner of Investigations Richard Chambers reported that the agency carefully identified the targets for the operation.
They concluded on these facts using the help of Dutch intelligence that linked the targets to the illegal purchase of the drugs on the dark web.
The police officers visited a total of 84 addresses where instead of arresting the offenders, they sought to educate them.
The targets included suspected offenders who were aware of the dangers of drug abuse and the ways to prevent it.
However, the police stated that most of the offenders were purchasing the drugs for recreational purposes and not resale.
They reported that the most common drugs on the dark web are LSD and MDMA.
The operation aimed at reducing any potential harm to these users by enlightening them on the dangers of the drugs they were using.
However, Operation Garden does not entirely rule out the possibility of opening up investigations that may lead to prosecution.
Chambers stated that the police might use the evidence they uncover in their visits to press charges against the offenders.
With this declaration, nonetheless, Chambers only sought to highlight the necessary action against the adverse effects of the illicit drug trade.
Chambers gave a stern warning to the offenders who choose not to heed to the call for reform.
They often perpetuate this illegal trading with confidence in their anonymity. He informed the perpetrators that the authorities are working towards uncovering their identities.
The Participants in Operation Garden
Operation Garden began as a result of several agencies working together. These agencies continue to pool resources and skills to fight the criminal activities.
Law enforcement authorities from all over the globe have joined the battle against these offenders.
In New Zealand, the Customs Department is working with such international partners as Dutch law enforcement agencies to track down the criminals.
Local police are also increasingly participating in the operation. Recently, 77 officers joined the crackdown with the aim of enhancing the effectiveness of law enforcement in fighting online crime.
The stakeholders are determined to put the sale of drugs on the dark web to an end. However, they acknowledge that it will take a lot of effort to save the consumers of these drugs.
The Aim of the Operation
According to Chambers, the primary objective of Operation Garden is to provide aid. The commissioner insists that the operation seeks to fulfill this objective through three prevention and support activities.
Firstly, it is vital to acknowledge that the war requires more than one local law enforcement agency to fight.
This operation needs a multi-agency approach to succeed.
The scope of involvement of the agencies ranges from targeting and tracking suspects to providing prevention measures and treatment.
Secondly, the targets need to know what the agencies intend to do to help them. The agencies should give them a chance to accept the rehabilitation plan.
Engaging the offenders is likely to lead to their cooperation, which is necessary for this operation to succeed.
The third and most important step, according to Chambers, is to involve the community in this effort.
The law enforcement agencies cannot successfully fight the illicit drug trade on the dark web alone. Community partners should join forces to see this operation through, Chambers added.
The members of the community can provide support to the recovering offenders by ensuring that they get the rehabilitation services they need.
The operation also requires the families of the offenders to support them continuously until they recover.
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