The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) of India expressed through its annual report of 2017 the need to monitor the dark web due to its increased use in drug trafficking while using bitcoin as the currency of choice. The report indicated the fact that darknet users have no direct contact with vendors and law enforcement, as the biggest reason more Indians started using the dark web to acquire drugs. The report stated that law enforcement agencies booked two cases in 2017, for which drugs were purchased through the dark web. In the first case, 21 people were arrested in a drug trafficking case that involved LSD and MDMA bought from the dark web. In the second case, two people were arrested in Delhi and 100 pills of Ecstasy confiscated.
The Narcotics Control Bureau is in charge of coordinating and involving law enforcement agencies of India in the fight against drug trafficking. The fight against dark web trafficking in India has intensified and has resulted in multiple arrests this year. In the most recent case, Kolkata police arrested three students tied to dark web drugs.
The three students, Saumik Mukherjee, Mriganka Banerjee and Kaustabh Kar allegedly ran a drug trafficking network that sold LSD, MDMA, and other synthetic drugs. The three are believed to have acquired the drugs from dark web marketplaces. They were arrested after detectives successful ran an operation in which they posed as buyers.
Detectives of the Kolkata police were informed of the existence of a drug trafficking network and initiated an operation in which they posed as buyers. They acquired information that led to a raid on a residence in Usha Pally and the arrest of Mukherjee, a BBA student in an undisclosed college in the city.
After being questioned, Mukherjee disclosed information that led to the arrest of Banerjee and Kar who studied and lived in Vivek Nagar. Banerjee studied computer engineering while Kar took a degree in Masters of Computer Applications (MCA). Undisclosed quantities of LSD and MDMA were seized from the students after the arrest.
According to information disclosed by the police, the students purchased the drugs from the dark web and then resold them to drug users in the city, as well as other students. The students’ trafficking network used encrypted communication and a coded language known only by members of the group.
Use of the dark web to acquire drugs has been on the rise in Kolkata. The NCB announced the arrest of a Kolkata man earlier this year for dark web drug peddling. Rhythm Das Ray was arrested after he was connected to a drug trafficking gang brought down by authorities in December. Rhythm acted as a middleman and purchased drugs such as MDMA using bitcoin on behalf of his gang. The NCB seized 148 LSD tabs and 28 grams of ecstasy from the drug peddling gang that Rhythm facilitated.
Use of the dark web by students is not a new thing in India. Last year, Indian authorities identified four high school students as having used the dark web to purchase LSD. The four students were identified after an interrogation on a suspect in the drug case. The students ordered LSD from darknet marketplaces and had it delivered to their home addresses, making their parents believe they were receiving study materials.
The booming darknet drug trade has undoubtedly attracted more Indian drug vendors and users to the dark web. Coupled with the use of bitcoin, tracking of dark web drug vendors and users has proved to be a huge problem for Indian law enforcement.