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Monday, May 15, 2017

Dark Web Drug Trafficking On The Increase In German City

According to a recent report by German authorities, drug trafficking on the darknet is on a high level in the city of Offenburg and in the surrounding areas.

The report showed that a person can purchase a gram of cocaine for 75 euros, 50 grams of the same substance for 2,750 euros, and “more on request”. The narcotics are shipped via the national postal service in letters or packages. The vendors ensure fast delivery times, while the best quality is guaranteed, in addition to the positive customer reviews, which makes the purchase of drugs on the dark web as easy as an on a legal internet platform, the report claimed. However, the narcotics trade on the dark side of the internet presents a big threat to law enforcement authorities in Offenburg.

“It is a bottomless pit,” Roland Haug, the chief of police in the region, said. Together with his colleague, Detlef Erny, he drew a balance in the drug crime in the area of the police department in Offenburg.

With approximately 2,500 cases recorded, narcotic crime in Offenburg and the district of Ortenau, the district of Rastatt, and the city of Baden-Baden is currently at the highest level of the previous year. According to the study, the more law enforcement authorities devote themselves to the drug scene, the more success they can report. Additionally, prosecuted cannabis consumers in the statistics count as much as large-scale dealers, who were investigated for long months before they were arrested.

According to the records, approximately 48 specially trained officials at the police department in Offenburg are concerned mainly with drug cases, which takes about 85 percent of all crimes. Other investigations in the city on other crimes add up to only 15 percent. Law enforcement authorities recorded several cases where suspects purchased drugs in “not small quantities”, the biggest quantities seized in investigations were 10 grams of heroin and cocaine, and more than 200 grams of hash. The number of such instances fell from 101 cases in 2015 to 70 in 2016. Roland Haug has a simple explanation for the decline: one year with an increased law enforcement action and pressure usually follows another year where the recorded offenses have to be processed.

According to the report, the police recorded 1,937 cases of illicit possession of narcotics and 448 instances of drug trafficking. Cannabis accounts for the bulk (56 percent) of drug-related crimes in the area, both in the possession and acquisition (1,412 cases) and in commerce (254).

In 2016, law enforcement authorities reported nine narcotic-related deaths in the district of Ortenau. Five of those were registered in Lahr, two in Offenburg, and one in Gengenbach and Ottenhofen. All victims were male and died from a mixture of drugs, medications, alcohol and substitute drugs. Five times heroin was in the foreground, four times methadone. In one case, the cause was a patch containing fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, which is used in medical conditions as a painkiller.

70 percent of the suspects are Germans, while the others are citizens of other countries (mostly immigrants and refugees), the report stated.

In the case of drug abuse, 70 of the 443 cases recorded are related to amphetamine, 37 to cocaine, 36 to ecstasy and eight to heroin. The police welcomed the legal regulation in the area on the “new psychoactive substances” (NPS), which are, “camouflaged” as herbal mixtures or bath salts, but are synthetic substances that are sold to drug consumers. Since of the new law, every individual substance in the NPS category has to be detected as a drug. It is now possible to ban whole groups of substances thanks to the new law.

The report describes the dark web as a “thriving criminal trading place”, where criminals use bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to conduct transactions. Law enforcement authorities claimed that the presence of dark net marketplaces makes the fight against drug trafficking a growing challenge for the police. For example, in the case of a four-month investigation against a Russian group of criminals, more than 1,000 overtime hours were incurred only at the police department in the region. For the investigators, such working hours are extremely high even for their families who hardly see them because of the extensive investigations.
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