The Department of Justice (DOJ) is stepping up their campaign against free trade on the dark web. What is the keystone reason? Idiot drug dealers mixing narcotics with fentanyl.
If you weren’t stuck under a rock during the first half of 2018, then you’ll remember hearing rumors about a massive operation conducted in the United States by numerous federal law enforcement agencies in which people were arrested for selling drugs (mainly fentanyl) and weapons on the dark web.
On Tuesday, June 26, 2018, the United States Department of Justice released a report covering the details it wanted the public to know. The report stated that numerous federal agencies such as the Department of Justice (DOJ), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Secret Service (USSS), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), conducted a year-long investigation that spanned 50 Federal districts.
The Fed’s Strategy: Using Fentanyl Deaths
Agents of the HSI infiltrated the dark web; obtained memberships with dark web markets such as Dream, Hansa, AlphaBay, Silk Road, among others the DOJ chose not to name; then the agents either posed as a single buyer or operated under multiple memberships, and at some point solicited the vendors with fake money laundering services.
According to the DOJ report, “Special Agents of the HSI New York Field Division, in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, posed as a money launderer on Darknet market sites, exchanging U.S. currency for virtual currency.” By the wording, it seems more likely that a team of agents worked in tandem to create one persona.
Of course, the DOJ will never reveal the exact method in which it was able to uncover the locations of these 35 darknet vendors now in custody. Nevertheless, one would assume that the Feds are getting good at tracking the origin of digital currencies and that these so-called “anonymous” currencies may not be that secure after all.
Another factor we must take into consideration is the fact that we don’t know the full circumstances surrounded these individuals’ arrest. There have been countless examples throughout history where black market entrepreneurs were indicted, elaborate stories spun around the entire case, giving the public the impression that ingenious criminal masterminds had finally been taken down by an even more resourceful group of investigators. When in fact, the defendants became complacent, and law enforcement stumbled upon a little luck.
Law enforcement likes to sprinkle a little spice into their stories with the aim of flexing their authority in the public view. This is evidenced through the words of Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein of the Justice Department who stated, “Criminals who think that they are safe on the Darknet are wrong.”
“We can expose their networks, and we are determined to bring them to justice. Today, we arrested more than 35 alleged Darknet vendors. We seized their weapons, their drugs, and $23.6 million of their ill-gotten gains.
“This nationwide enforcement effort will reduce the supply of deadly drugs like fentanyl that are killing an unprecedented number of Americans. I want to thank our federal prosecutors, and the dedicated federal agents with DEA, Homeland Security Investigations, the Postal Inspection Service, and the Secret Service for their outstanding work.”
The Key Issue For the Feds Is Fentanyl Sold on the Dark Web
One thing stands true in most cases: through a thousand words, it only requires noticing the one of importance for you to understand the heart. This particular case is not exempt. Through all of Rosenstein’s blustering about how mighty is the hand of the federal government, the keyword here is fentanyl, the source behind the opioid crisis, as well as the hot political tool that has Donald Trump wishfully proposing enacting the death penalty for those convicted of selling narcotics.
Who are we to blame? That answer is simple: we blame the imbeciles morons who are using fentanyl as a cutting agent for heroin, cocaine, and meth. There is a logical reason behind thinning the purity of narcotics such as the three mentioned above – most people with common sense don’t need to be explained as to why, either.
Nonetheless, greedy drug dealers are looking to do more than making the drug less pure and safe for consumption through ethical cutting practices; they’re deliberately using specific agents with the sole intent of tripling or quadrupling their profit and at the customer’s’ health expense.
It’s the author’s experience over the decades that narcotics do not have an equal effect on everyone who uses it. A lot of readers may know people who have used meth or cocaine for many years and function normally; maintaining a healthy life in which not even those closest to them suspect they consume illicit narcotics.
On the flip side, there may be readers who know or have known, individuals who snort coke one night at a party and one month later show visible signs of addiction. Then you have all of the examples of varying degrees to consider. Through this, one can deduce that decent to good quality narcotics can’t be blamed for a person’s addictive personality.
Some examples are porn addiction, alcohol addiction, gambling addiction, as well as other conditions like kleptomania, oniomania (compulsive buying disorder), or compulsive hoarding disorder (CHD). Therefore, with this understanding, the “War on Drugs” is already an injustice that continues to be supported by public manipulation, exaggerated stats and figures, governments playing both sides of the fence, and, though not necessarily a new issue, dealers distributing fentanyl-laced narcotics in the name of profit, even after it has become universally known among the masses that this chemical causes people to die.
A Lesson From the La Cosa Nostra
On November 14, 1957, a highly secretive but watershed meeting took place at the Apalachin home of Joseph “Joe the Barber” Barbara, a New York state mobster and boss of the Bufalino crime family. The meeting has been written in history as the “Apalachin Conference,” and it included Joseph “The Dapper Don” Bonanno, Vito Genovese, Carlo Gambino, as well as other high-level luminaries and bosses from five of the most prominent crime families in operation in those days.
They were all meeting to establish an important law: The La Cosa Nostra would never get mixed up in the drug business. Furthermore, anyone found dealing in drugs would receive a swift death sentence. And that was that.
Fast forward over a century later. What once was the golden age of the Sicilian Mafia lives on only in sensational Hollywood films. Modern-day Italian mobsters have since pushed aside the La Cosa Nostra’s no-drug law – a trend primarily responsible for the Mafia’s slow but steady demise. Not only have filmmakers centered the plots of their movies around this fact but thousands upon thousands of court documents show that the FBI began infiltrating their ranks using snitches, informants, and, most insulting of all, actual undercover federal agents.
These things started during the time certain mafiosos started dealing in narcotics. And, indeed, though drugs were not initially the formal charges brought up in many of the indictments, narcotics are directly or indirectly linked to the various charges brought against a string of mobsters starting in the 1970s.
In an interview with Lucchese underboss Eugene “Boopsie” Castelle, he told the New York Daily News, “Federal prosecutors have been ‘extremely successful in using the drug laws as a tool to break the back of these LCN [La Cosa Nostra] families.’”
In 2000, when Jim Walden worked as an Assistant United States Attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office at the Eastern District of New York, he is quoted as saying, “As long as mobsters continue to peddle drugs openly on our streets, they make it easier for us to catch them.”
It was nearly impossible for the Feds to catch the mafia in the old days because rackets such as running numbers, dealing in boosted items, extorting businesses, operating workers’ union scams, cheating in the construction business, among other things, were under the radar. But the drug business is one that inherently opens you up to all sorts of troubles.
Even though we’re in a day and age where the narcotics business is just a fact of life, and most drug dealers would shun the idea of halting it, we can take a valuable lesson from the La Cosa Nostra: when you start mixing bad things in with a good racket, it won’t be long until those bad elements come back around to bite you in the ass.
And since Karma is a funny thing, you never know when that time is due to arrive. The deep web started out as a safe haven; back when darknet markets like The Silk Road could only be accessed through invite only. Now the people running the markets, the vendors, as well as the customers have all gotten greedy.
Selling narcotics mixed with agents that put users at risk of severe health issues or death, such as fentanyl, will only make you money for as long as it takes for the public to start demanding authorities to shut down dark web stores and arrest the vendors at any cost. Majority of the time, those who get pinched may not even be a dealer selling bad-quality drugs.
In addition to that, all of the other dark web vendors who have nothing to do with the drug issue will suffer as well. Though it is most likely true that legislators pass laws to make lobbyist happy, it’s also true that law enforcement tends to not chase after things that remain under the radar or generally don’t pose a threat to society as a whole.
A great example would be in the early to late 1980s at the height of California street gangs; as long as the gang bangers only killed each other, law enforcement invested barely any investigative energy in solving gang-on-gang murders. But when gangs began killing innocent women, children, and the elderly, all kinds of new anti-gang laws were passed, designed to lock gang members up for the long term.
If we want the dark web to keep its integrity, dark web shops need to reenact the “by invitation only” policy, once again making it exclusive rather than inclusive. Dealers cheating on quality and cutting drugs with agents they know is potentially dangerous need to think about the long-term rather than only thinking short term. By running scams and ruining the quality of the market, a time will come when there is no market because no one trusts anyone else. Then what will you do?
Lastly, people conducting business over the dark web need to start using safer business practices. There are plenty of smarter ways to launder cryptocurrency rather than trusting some person you never met, who might be a governmental agent (in that case, you’ll meet them eventually), or who is looking to get over on you. If you’re going to do business on the dark web, it’s better if you’re not a halfwit about it.