Following the recent rate of Darknet drug purchases across Europe, authorities in the US and the Netherlands have teamed up to embark on a door to door search leading to the arrest of potential darknet drug buyers.
The US and the Netherlands are two of the leading drug trafficking nations in the world, and it is no surprise that the authorities embarked on such an operation. Similar campaigns have been engaged in the past but the darknet users continue to rise annually.
The Dutch Ministry of Justice in 2016 released a report confirming that the Netherlands is one of the world leaders of darknet drug traders, not something to be proud of. In the report released by the Dutch authorities in 2016, the Netherlands appeared to be the leading producer of MDMA, Ecstasy and herbal cannabis.
Dutch vendors traffic at least 11 kilos of cannabis a month and 10 percent of their total drug revenue comes from the sale of cannabis. This has expanded the range of buyers each year forcing the authorities to launch a special investigation to arrest the buyers and the vendors. This joint operation seems to be the first competitive action undertaken after the shut down of the Hansa market.
According to information, the operation is the continuation of the war against the Hansa market last year. The Dutch authorities took over the website administration and strategically took notice of the addresses of the users before shutting down the platform. With the information gathered, the Drug Enforcement Agencies of both the Netherlands and the United States of America visited over 100 addresses in a door to door investigation.
It is likely that users who took lessons and refrained from illicit drug purchases on the darknet will not be favored as the aim is to complete what they started some years back.
Nanina Van Zanden, the leader of the Dark web operations for the Dutch police hinted that they got insight into the organization and the structure of the Hansa market when they took it over. The arrest of two men associated with the website was not enough as the users were made the next targets on their arrest plan.
The Hansa market was one of the leading darknet marketplaces with a high number of users from which most of them were Dutch or American citizens.
Everything they are doing is, therefore, to ensure that newbies who are thinking of engaging in the Darknet will have a change of heart. They want the Dutch citizens to get to a place where they will begin to think that buying illicit drugs through the Darknet is not as easy as they think.
This follow-up is meant to serve as a model for future operations, and to get drug trafficking in the country under control.
The Dutch authorities alone visited 37 addresses in just two days. According to the information released by authorities on Thursday, they did this to alert darknet users that the anonymity of the platform is not enough to keep them safe from arrest.
Users of the platform were the primary targets for having purchased cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, and hashish. The police said that a 25-year-old man was also arrested for purchasing 150 pills of ecstasy from the Darknet marketplace.
Even though the police said that some of the suspects will go to jail, the operation was meant to inform them about the dangers associated with the online black market.
Europe’s regional director of the US Drug Enforcement Agency, Kevin Scully said before the operation that: “we’ll be knocking on people’s doors and talking with them, letting them know that what they are doing is wrong. The purpose is mainly to inform and educate people about the dangers of buying drugs over the dark web.” Scully added that: “We also want to let people know that we’ve identified them. They can’t buy drugs over the internet and assume that we’re not going to know who they are.”
In the United States of America, this is seen as a step in the right direction as the country has been troubled with high drug overdose deaths recently. Utah alone recorded 78% increase in drug overdose death since 2015. The authorities are leaving no stone unturned in the fight against the Darknet users responsible for the importation of fentanyl into the country. This operation is likely to show a positive result in controlling the high engagement of the Darknet marketplaces among the people of these two countries.