In late February, the operator of an underground network of online drug transactions known as the Silk Road was found guilty by a federal jury on all seven counts he faced following an FBI investigation that led to his apprehension in 2013. Less than a month later, we are faced with a fearful reminder of how extensive the black market drug trade truly is, as German authorities busted one of the largest online narcotics dealers their side of the Atlantic.
Police seize nearly half a ton of drugs from dark web distributor
On March 11, German police announced that they had made seven arrests after raiding a total of 38 different locations associated with a sophisticated online drug operation known as “Shiny-Flakes.” As a result, police seized more than 700 pounds of various narcotics from Shiny-Flakes. The overhaul of items such as cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, hash, marijuana, amphetamines and methamphetamines adds up to about $4.25 million worth of illicit drugs. Shiny-Flakes also claimed to offer a variety of other drugs such as Tramadol, a narcotic-like pain reliever, and Ketamine, a common anesthetic. They even hinted at plans to expand their offerings to include heroin, testosterone, and a powerful painkiller known as Fentanyl.
According to Wired.com, knowledgeable sources have speculated that this may be the largest dark web drug bust ever. While that claim is difficult to prove, German police have confirmed that it is in fact the largest bust ever of its kind in Germany.
In addition to securing record-setting numbers of narcotics, authorities have also taken over control of two sites that Shiny-Flakes operated on. One of the sites was hosted by an anonymity network known as Tor, keeping the operation largely hidden from the general public. Shiny-Flakes’ other venture happened to be hiding in plain site, as it was simply set up on the unprotected Internet and potentially available for anyone to stumble upon.
Shiny-Flakes bust a small step toward slowing down a dangerous Evolution
As big as the Shiny-Flakes bust is for German police, it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to narcotics trading on the black market. A great portion of the still-flourishing drug trade resides well below surface level, hiding out on a stealthy drug market known as Evolution. With Silk Road shut down, Wired states that Evolution has grown over the past year to become the top dark web black market in existence, boasting more than 20,000 drug listings on its platform alone.
Perhaps scarier than knowing deep, dark digital drug marketplaces like Evolution and Silk Road exist, is understanding why they exist. The people who create these platforms are drug dealers of the highest level, preying on people around the world who have become slaves to their addictions. The creators of these sites are not dealing drugs out of desperation or because they have no alternative path. They are making a conscious decision to exploit a portion of the population who has lost their own ability to consciously decide whether or not to use drugs because of the legitimate changes that addiction brings forth.
Finding real help
The efforts of law enforcement can only go so far in slowing the explosive growth of the black market drug trade. In addition to bringing down the people who are behind massive narcotics networks, it is important that we focus our attention on the people they are targeting. Addiction is a crippling disease that does not discriminate against gender, age, geography, financial status or any other demographic information. It can take over anyone it comes across, and it does not give up without a fight. In a day and age where drug dealers can prey on people from a continent away and offer a world’s worth of substances, fighting back against that addiction can sometimes seem like a losing battle. But it is indeed a battle that can be won, and one that no one should have to endure alone.
If you or a loved one are struggling with drug addiction or substance abuse, get the help and support you deserve. Call The Watershed today at 1-800-861-1768.Tags: drug bust, online recovery, silk road