Law enforcement across the world in 2016 struggled to stay ahead of crime on the internet. Major accomplishments, for both regional and international agencies, made headlines many times. However, as the year ended, quarterly reports from law enforcement authorities, police spokespersons, and even government representatives revealed that the “breaking news” cases were not a regular occurrence. Ireland’s Gardaí (Garda) is one of the branches of law enforcement that admittedly faces an “overwhelming challenge.”
Brian Roberts, a Detective Sergeant in the Drugs and Organized Crime Bureau of the Gardaí told thejournal.ie that online drug trade is a “trend that has developed significantly.” He explained that a street drug dealer and his customers continued to follow the same pattern, year after year. Police have no difficulty tracking the “in real life” drug dealer or customer. Although bits and pieces moved and shifted throughout the years, the connection between physical cash and drugs on the street has bonded to a nearly inseparable level. Only so many aspects of a “real” transaction have the ability to change—to the extent that the online industry has changed, that is.
Not only the Gardaí started battling the illegal activity on the darknet, Roberts explained. He said that the challenge provided by darknet drug vendors and customers—or any darknet criminals—brought a unique element of crime to the Gardaí. However, he added, not only the Gardaí faced the “unique challenges.”
Not long ago we wrote of an ex-Federal Police Officer in Germany; the reason the prefix “ex-” came before “Federal Police Officer” consisted of the BKA’s lack of ability to fight cybercrime. “Capacity to fight the Cybercrime on the Internet must also be improved – from the monitoring of the terrorist recruitment to the arms trade in Darknet. A stronger executive police force in all areas is urgently needed,” he told a local news outlet.
Law enforcement in Switzerland, too, reported the current darknet challenges in their path. In another of our recent articles titled “Swiss Authorities Left Powerless Against Online German Weapons Shop,” Bernhard Graser of the Aargau police said, “in theory, everyone can order a weapon online or from the Darknet.” He spoke in reference to a website where anyone could easily buy weapons. German authorities, Vitáris wrote, tried to shut the site down but ultimately failed.
“Drugs are indeed sold on the open internet, but the real problem stems from the multi-million-euro global drug trade on ‘Darknet’ marketplaces. Darknets are used for the sale of many illegal commodities and services including firearms and child pornography, but the biggest deal is in drugs, this can be pharmaceutical drugs,” Roberts explained.
The Gardaí made several power moves in 2014, however. They are among the world’s leading cybercrime and darknet law enforcement agencies, thanks to and international cooperation with Europol, Interpol, and global law enforcement agencies. “International law enforcement operations are continuing to try to tackle these online platforms, which are regarded as the modern era of drug dealing,” he concluded.