Police warn off dark web drug buyers
West Australians using the dark web to buy drugs are being warned they will be caught and prosecuted as police increase efforts to intercept illicit imports sent by airmail and freight.
Twenty-nine people have been charged since January after X-ray screening of letters and parcels uncovered 724g of methamphetamine, 1.85kg of MDMA, 2kg of LSD and 14kg of cannabis as well as synthetic cannabis, steroids and cocaine, in hundreds of packages destined for West Australians.
Police claim many WA users and dealers are buying drugs on the dark web because they believe it is anonymous and safe.
Professionals who do not want to risk face-to-face exchanges with criminals, and teens buying drugs for themselves and mates are among those charged, police say.
“Some of them have no criminal record and don’t seem to realise that what they are doing can result in them being charged with possession of a prohibited drug with intent to sell or supply,” Det-Sen. Sgt Keith Neubronner said.
“They might be good on computers and they’re buying it for a mate but once they do that, they’re supplying drugs and they risk going to jail.”
While many of those selling illegal items on the dark web are overseas and difficult to track, police are focused on intercepting illicit packages and identifying the people who ordered them.
The organised crime squad, with the help of Australian Border Force, turned their attention to air and sea shipments in 2015 as part of efforts to stem the flow of methamphetamine into WA. The operations have had an impact on the illicit trade, with some dark web vendors expressing reluctance to send drugs to WA and others banning methods they think are more likely to be intercepted.
University of WA Centre for Software Practice director David Glance, said it was very easy to access the dark web, which used encryption software to protect users from being traced.
The software can be downloaded from the normal web and once in the dark web, users can find sites and services through a browser.