To hoodwink cops, drug traders take to darknet, Bitcoin
New Delhi: Drug trafficking in India is on a new ‘high’ with anti-narcotics agencies detecting an increase in the trade through the cryptic ‘darknet’ and the clandestine currency Bitcoin.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has interdicted two such syndicates. “For the first time we have detected drug traffickers using darknet and Bitcoin for running the racket in India. Some of these operatives are based in the country. We are probing them,” said an NCB officer.
While ‘darknet’ is a clandestine internet network which can only be accessed with specific software, configurations and authorisation and is difficult to track by the usual communication protocols and ports, Bitcoin is referred to as a crypto-currency that allows consumers to make electronic transactions by skipping legal banking channels.
NCB officials said the two syndicates intercepted by them were prima facie indulging in trafficking of party drugs. “The use of such ultra-secret measures is worrying but we are enhancing our capabilities to effectively and timely detect these instances,” the officer said.
Sources, meanwhile, said crossborder availability of heroin had decreased. “Due to effective clampdown, there has been a 30% decline in trafficking in Punjab,” a source said.
At a review meeting, the NCB had informed the home ministry that drug addicts in Punjab were gradually getting attracted to medicine-based concoctions . Data for 2015 showed Punjab accounted for the maximum seizures of opium and heroin nationwide.