Mumbai police hunt for a way to enter the ‘dark web’ of drug suppliers
Most suppliers place orders using Tor, a software that protests users’ privacy, says the anti-narcotics cellmumbai Updated: Feb 06, 2018 09:47 IST
Dark web – this, according to the anti-narcotics cell, is where most suppliers place orders to get their share of drugs.
According to a cyber expert, the dark web is a part of the Internet that cannot be accessed through standard search engines. It can only be accessed using The Onion Router (Tor), a software that allows for anonymous communication. On this site, users get password-protected or dynamic pages to surf encrypted networks.
The ANC learnt about the web after interrogation of five students who were arrested in May last year in connection with the seizure of 1,400 LSD dots worth Rs70 lakh. “They had an Indian friend settled in the United States. They used to send money using Bitcoin to him. This man would then place an order for drugs on the dark web and would get the drugs delivered to the youngsters’ delivery address,” said DCP (ANC) Shivdeep Lande.
A police source said the man in the US placed orders with the drug syndicates in Western Europe. “Mumbai youths got the drugs from Holland. Not only LSD, they also ordered MDMA (Ecstasy) with help from the friend,” said the source.
Another police source said many high-end expensive party drugs found in Goa, and rave parties in other parts of the country were sourced through the dark web, as it offers absolute anonymity and encrypted data making tracking of users tough. After getting payment through Bitcoin or other crypto currencies, the suppliers send the consignments, mainly through shipping or couriers. “In Mumbai’s case, LSD dots were concealed in some documents,” a police officer said.
“Usually, global suppliers don’t cheat the buyers, as they want to grow. Also, the customers alert others about cheater on chat rooms in the dark web. The cheaters are then blocked,” said cyber expert advocate Prashant Mali.
In the US there is a parallel world, notorious for drug trafficking and other illegal practices, on the Dark Net. “The Indian enforcement agencies need to form a Cyber Spy Force, which will keep a close watch on the trend in the virtual world and take measures to check it,” said Mali.
Deputy Director General (NCB) Mutha Ashok Jain said in the present scenario, one cannot deny that Dark Net is a big challenge. “Dark web hides the source, forcing us to rely on human intelligence or keep an eye on overseas couriers,” DCP Lande said.
Another senior Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) official from New Delhi said, “The dark web is only a mechanism to hide identity. Once an order is placed, its needs to be executed and that needs a physical presence. And to switch to dark net mechanism one has to somewhere get linked to the existing system and this link leaves a trail for enforcers.”