In one of probably the most peculiar trials in Vienna this year, a woman was arrested and brought before a court to answer charges for drug trafficking she was seemingly unaware of. She was accused for having ordered three grams of heroin from the deep web. The lady however, refuted any claims of wrongdoing, saying she had no idea about the shipment. She went to great lengths and with obvious difficulty, to explain to the judge that she had no idea how any drugs were ordered in her name and shipped to her home address.
According to investigations, the addictive substance was intercepted by police on its way to her address. The investigation reported that these were darknet purchased drugs too. However, the woman’s attorney told the District Judge Elizabeth Schwartz and the district attorney that there was a public mailbox directly in front of the poor woman’s home. These public residential mailboxes were accessible to anyone and could be seen by everyone too. Some of the mailboxes were unsecured, including the one that had the package of heroin. Although she owned one of the mailboxes in the same location, she claimed hers was always locked. As such, she dismissed any association with the drugs. Her attorney argued it would be wrong to accuse his client merely on the basis of proximity.
The revelations put the court at odds. Who else could have done it then? But the lady would not get off the hook so easily. Earlier on, the woman had informed police that while the mailbox did not belong to her, she did not use drugs to begin with. However, she refused to take a drug test, something Judge Schwartz felt would have easily solved the whole issue. In her defense, the unnamed lady countered that she spoke to her lawyer about the circumstances before meeting the police. Her lawyer in turn advised her that she had no reasons to take the drug test as she was not guilty.
Responding to a question on indulgences of alcohol, she responded before the court that she did not as much as touch alcohol for pleasure, let alone addiction. She explained that she did drink alcohol a few times as a teenager, and with excessiveness but eventually quit with time.
The verdict was then passed and the woman was set free without any penalties. Seemingly, she had satisfactorily never been seen to indulge in drugs. It was agreed that even if she was about to start, it was unlikely heroin would be the first pass at it.
According to the latest drug report, non-medical use of opioids is becoming a major threat to public health and law enforcement agencies worldwide. Opioids account for up to 76% of deaths resulting from drug abuse and overdose. The report was conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and released on June 26. In fact, heroin dealers and even substance abusers are subject to charges of second degree attempted murder.
Countries such as Portugal have decriminalize all drugs including heroin to tackle addiction with many programs in place already to help recovering addicts. Interestingly, this approach appears to work and the Portuguese could be the example to follow. However, criminalization in the majority of first world countries makes users seek alternate channels to possess the drug. This has led to an increase of heroin trafficking on the darknet and the increase in fentanyl use and distribution worldwide.
A research conducted on the movement of drugs through the darknet indicates that darknet drug market patterns have little influence on drug trafficking. Using web crawlers, these researchers collected data from some of the most influential darknet marketplaces. Some of them have since been shut down including AlphaBay and Hansa.
The data was then organized and put together to help determine the level of deep web trafficking. The results showed that it has not affected the movement of drugs from their production sites to the consumers from one continent to another. Big time drug cartels still use the traditional networks. The report concludes that darknet vendors are stationed within highly concentrated consumer countries. This suggests that dark web vendors merely play the role of local retailers by meeting ‘the last mile’.