The promise of anonymity has driven some people into having total trust in the dark web as a surveillance-proof network.
The hidden web is often portrayed as a place that is beyond the reach of authorities, where the kings and lords of criminal activities rule with an iron fist.
But in recent years, the validity of this notion has been called into question.
Truly, global law enforcement agencies have employed a highly diverse framework to curtail the worldwide darknet space.
These techniques have been designed to bring infamous drug dealers to book, and to frustrate the emergence of new drug trade networks across the community divide.
Certainly, the need to approach this aspect with an open mind has prompted law enforcement bodies to invoke the most unorthodox ways of dealing with the dark web menace accordingly.
t this point, technology savvy dark web criminals are currently targeted by the police like never before—it is not business as usual.
The Issue: Use of Mail Services in Drug Trafficking
The scale of drug trafficking through postal services has advanced exponentially.
Authorities tie this occurrence to the increase in popularity of legitimate online marketplaces, as people can now order goods and services right from the comfort of their living rooms.
In the same light, the drug trade has shifted to online platforms, primarily the dark web.
It is common knowledge that the importation of controlled substances and prescription drugs into the U.S. is considered illegal.
The sharp reality that drugs continue to find their way into U.S. communities is rather disturbing.
More interestingly, U.S. authorities maintain that a bulk of imported banned substances are sent from other countries via mail.
Based on the aforementioned existing problem, police forces have been partnering with postal service providers and package companies to police the drug world.
The reality of transferring drugs via the dark web is reflected on the high-stake risks taken by drug dealers in “trusting” postal companies to deliver banned goods.
It is said that the police have the discretion to get parcel tracking numbers from companies and follow their links, which usually ends in the address of a recipient.
This concept is regarded to a “controlled delivery” where law enforcement agents track and monitor the delivery until it reaches the end user, who ultimately gets arrested.
Postal Workers in Disguise
Reuters recently reported of a mail carrier who turned out to be a federal agent executing a classical “controlled delivery” strategy.
In one specific example, as witnessed by one Reuters reporter, a package bearing several grams of fentanyl arrived in the U.S. from China.
The package was addressed to a person named Randy, yet the parcel’s destination details did not tally with the name of the addressee.
This observation spooked law enforcement agents who saw the event’s facts as suitable fodder for a “controlled delivery” exercise.
Adding to this, the police discovered the consignment’s link to a pattern of earlier parcels delivered to the same location from China.
It was also discovered that the packages were systematically addressed to fictional residents and apartments.
Prior to delivery, law enforcement officers placed a GPS tracking device inside the package and set up surveillance teams around the marked building location.
The operation involved dozens of agents who disguised themselves in different ways.
While most of them engaged in the most mundane of activities just to distract possible onlookers, all the agents’ eyes were sharply trained on the building’s glass-fronted entrance—they waited to see who came out to pick up the package.
For some time, everything seemed calm outside the New York apartment building.
It was until a man showed up, fiddling on his cellphone, and entered a cab, that GPS movement informed the federal agents that they had caught their target.
The team of agents swung into action, arresting the man and recovering the package.
Apparently, the suspect turned out to be the building’s concierge who chose to pick the parcel after work.
Through this it is clear that U.S. law enforcement agencies are evolving their tactics to catch online drug criminals in the act.
In the same way, countries around the world are following suit.