Ireland Demand for Dark Web Cocaine and Party Drugs Increase as Economy Improves.
The demand for cocaine and party drugs obtained from the dark web is resurging again in Ireland as its economy continues to improve significantly, a report giving insight on the level of organized crimes in the country has warned.
The 2018 Cross-Border Organized Crime Threat Assessment (CBOCTA) annual report shows that the use of crack cocaine and other party drugs is on the rise again following a continual decline in drug trafficking and usage in the country. The increase is, however, attributed to the high growth of the economy, rising wealth, the use of dark web and cryptocurrencies on online anonymous and encrypted networks which give criminals an impression that they are entirely immune from law enforcement agencies.
According to the report, organized crimes, illegal drug usage, and trafficking have significantly increased. More specifically, cocaine use is approaching the same level as during its highest peak in 2007 followed closely by cannabis, both of which are attractive to criminal gangs.
Crack cocaine has been highlighted as the most common drug which is in high and constant demand in most areas from rural villages to urban centers, retailing at around €70 a gram, says the report. “It is not yet clear that the level of cocaine consumption has gone up to the 2007 level, but the available evidence suggests that the situation is no better,” the report states.
A similar resurgence in the usage of MDMA and ecstasy pills among other ‘party pills,’ is occurring. The drugs are gaining popularity at a fast rate. This has been linked to the use of the dark web, where criminals buy the drugs using virtual currencies and have them delivered to their doorsteps via postal services. However, the report notes that crack cocaine requires individual and increased attention before the situation gets out of control.
”The old and traditional drug shipping routes are back on the border together with several new ones which are used in drug transportation. Further diversification in drug usage has led to online purchases, new bespoke, abuse of prescribed drugs, the emergence of psychoactive and psychotropic substances as well as organized criminal gangs” the report indicates.
The CBOCTA report was officially released during the 16th annual conference on cross-border organized crime held at Donard Slieve Hotel in Newcastle yesterday. The conference is organized to bring together law enforcement agencies and the ministry of justice among other relevant government representatives to get briefed on the state of the country. The PSNI, the Garda, HM Revenue, the National Crime Agency (NCA), the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) as well as Customs and Tax Commissioners were in attendance.
Charlie Flanagan, the Minister for Justice at the conference, said he was fully committed to bringing cooperation among all state holders from North and South on matters criminal justice. ”My attention has been drawn by criminals seeking to exploit our border through drug trafficking,” he said.
Amongst the issues emphasized in the released report is money laundering by drug criminals using ’mules’. This is where bank accounts owned by different clean people are used to receive, send and withdraw money resulting from criminal activities. A fee is then paid to the owner of the account before the criminals move to another person.
The report also cautions on the dark web weapons and firearms, indicating that there is a higher risk of criminal gangs obtaining unlicensed weapons which might make the situation worse. At the conference, the PSNI and the Gardai agreed to put illegal drugs and weapon trafficking at the top of their priorities.