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Dwayne Alcorn 2017-08-14
img

Law enforcement can't always move fast enough to fight wrongdoers on the darknet.

But bad reviews could help keep them at bay.

Some parts of the darknet operate like an eBay or Amazon for illegal goods or services, ranging from the illicit to the abhorrent.

And while law enforcement is proactively engaged with the problem, criminal investigations can take a long time to pursue, which is why experts are helping to come up with new ways to pour cold water on the darknet marketplace.

One such researcher is Scott Duxbury, a sociology doctoral student at Ohio State University.

Duxbury’s idea for cracking down on darknet drug sales is strikingly simple: leave bad reviews.

collect
0
Cornell Lopez 2017-12-27
img

Authorities say a couple in California incorporated some cutting-edge tech into their drug dealing operation—only to discover that a whirring machine in the sky may not be more discreet than a person walking down the street.

Last week, 39-year-old Benjamin Baldassarre and 31-year-old Ashley Carroll were arrested in Riverside, California for allegedly selling illegal drugs using a drone.

They were also charged with child endangerment after police discovered there was a 9-year-old girl living at their home.

According to a Facebook post by the Riverside Police Department, narcotics officers were surveilling the couple’s neighborhood “when they observed a drone leave the rear yard of residence” which then “flew to a nearby parking lot and dropped a small package of narcotics which were recovered by awaiting customers.” To pay for the drugs, “customers would then drive by the couple’s home and throw their payments on the lawn,” the Associated Press reports.

I’m no contraband-smuggling expert, but it seems like a missed opportunity here to not put the money in the drone.

It’s not difficult to grasp the logic behind offloading drug-smuggling to a machine: anonymity, baby.

collect
0
Alex Blair 2017-07-14
img

Despite the death of a central character in season 2, the makers of the Netflix hit Narcos have more stories to tell about the Colombian drug trade.

Netflix on Friday announced the third season of Narcos will return on September 1 — and there will be some big changes.

Spoiler alert: If you aren’t caught up on the show, you may want to avoid the spoilers that follow.

The upcoming season follows the rise of a new drug syndicate — the Cali cartel — following the death of Pablo Escobar at the end of the second season.

The Cali cartel appeared throughout Narcos‘ first two seasons, usually as a bloody thorn in Escobar’s side.

With Escobar in the ground instead of on top of the Colombian drug market, the Cali cartel is poised to show us how Narcos was never just about Escobar.

collect
0
Michael Wilson 2016-05-30
img

Though it has many legitimate uses, Bitcoin has become somewhat notorious for its use as a currency for selling blackmarket goods online.

In 2013 the Australian police seized 24,500 Bitcoin in the state of Victoria, which were owned by an online drug dealer.

Three years on and according to the BBC the Victoria's Asset Confiscation Operations department is now planning to sell 24,500 coins off - with the total being worth around £8m.

As the BBC notes, this isn't the first time Bitcoin has been sold in this way - in 2014, the US Marshalls sold off 175,000 Bitcoins that had been confiscated from sellers on the Silk Road, the "darknet" marketplace for buying illegal goods.

Of course, if you can't afford the hefty asking price, then you could always mine some new Bitcoins yourself.

Well, if you have a massive server farm to hand, anyway.

collect
0
Everett Toliver 2017-08-12
img

MONTREAL - When drug users go online for the first time to buy opioids, they aren't looking for the widest selection or the best prices for their illicit purchases, a new study suggests.

"When opioid users are making that first purchase, price doesn't matter at all," said Scott Duxbury, lead author of the study and doctoral student in sociology at The Ohio State University.

"This core group could be less vulnerable than their real-world counterparts to disruption by law enforcement," Duxbury said.

Duxbury and Dana Haynie, professor of sociology at Ohio State, conducted the first study to investigate the network structure of an encrypted online drug distribution network, examining the web of connections between buyers and sellers.

"The accessibility and ease of purchasing illegal drugs online opens up a global market where buyers and sellers are no longer constrained by locality and buyers have more options and diversity in product selection," Haynie said.

They presented their research Aug. 12 in Montreal at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association and in a paper published recently in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology.

collect
0
Jennifer True 2016-08-23
img

A 27-year-old Irishman whom police say was an administrator on the Silk Road drug-dealing website is fighting to avoid facing trial in the US.

Gary Davis of Wicklow, Ireland was indicted in 2013.

US prosecutors say Davis was "Libertas," a Silk Road admin who helped with things like customer service and moderating the forums.

Davis was arrested in 2014.

Earlier this month, Ireland's High Court ordered that he should be extradited to the US.

Davis has been charged with conspiracy charges related to narcotics distribution, money laundering, and computer hacking.

collect
0
Steven Cusick 2017-10-18
img

The Supreme Court this week announced that it will hear a landmark Internet privacy case dealing with the ability for law enforcement and government officials to access data stored in other countries.

The case is called US v. Microsoft and the two have been fighting since 2013.

Four years ago, federal investigators believed they located the e-mail account of a drug trafficker.

They obtained a warrant to get data from the Microsoft Outlook account which was registered in Ireland.

Microsoft partially complied by handing over information that was stored on its US servers but refused to retrieve any data from Ireland.

The case was escalated to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York; they sided with Microsoft.

collect
0
Howard Marcinkowski 2016-07-27
img

Grindr not only functions as a social network for gay and bisexual men to meet other men in their area, but apparently also functions as a way to track down drug dealers, DNAInfo reports.

Unlike most other Grindr users, 55-year-old New York City resident Harold Gondrez Jr. apparently used the social network for more nefarious means, as an unnamed police source said his profile was flagged for coded language that the undercover officer recognized as a possible advertisement for drugs.

As a result, undercover officers were able to contact Gondrez through Grindr and have him sell them over half an ounce of methamphetamine three times between June 20 and July 12, according to court documents.

Eventually, police had more than enough evidence to raid his Stuyvesant Town apartment and arrest Gondrez.

In the apartment, police reportedly found a large quantity of meth and cocaine packaged for sale, with five small baggies of cocaine, seven bags of meth, five pipes with residue, and $4,000 in cash, with some extra cash found stashed in a couch.

As a result of the raid, Gondrez was formally charged with two counts of drug sales and two counts of drug possession.

collect
0
Brad Patterson 2017-10-08

"Drug dealer caught because of BitCoin usage," writes Slashdot reader DogDude.

TechSpot reports: 38-year-old French national Gal Vallerius stands accused of acting as an administrator, senior moderator, and vendor for dark web marketplace Dream Market, where visitors can purchase anything from heroin to stolen financial data.

Upon arriving at Atlanta international airport on August 31, Vallerius was arrested and his laptop searched.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents allegedly discovered $500,000 of Bitcoin and Bitcoin cash on the computer, as well a Tor installation and a PGP encryption key for someone called OxyMonster...

In addition to his role with the site, agents had identified OxyMonster as a major seller of Oxycontin and crystal meth.

"OxyMonster's vendor profile featured listings for Schedule II controlled substances Oxycontin and Ritalin," testified DEA agent Austin Love.

collect
0
Adam Amie 2016-11-01
img

Eagles are known as glorious birds of prey.

They are not as well known for being crime-fighting heroes.

However, this may be about to change as the Government has suggested that eagles could be given an unlikely promotion – as prison drone interceptors.

Sounds like a joke – but it's not.

UK prisons could use eagles to stop drug- and weapon-smuggling drones.

Speaking in the House of Commons, prisons minister Sam Gyimah said: The new threat by drones is a game changer.

collect
0
Donald Koontz 2016-06-06
img

So, as a man who kicked a Royal Marine in the head is jailed after boasting online of a suspended sentence, BBC News looks at cases where users of social media have ended up in trouble with the law.

Strangely prophetic, as he's now "doing time" without a party

Where we may previously have been satisfied by bragging to our mates in the pub, it's now easy to mouth off online - and therefore announce our ill thought-out opinions not just to the general public but to the judiciary.

He's now swapped champagne for porridge, and is serving a 12-month jail term.

HMP Birmingham prisoners Demehl Thomas and Moysha Shepherd admitted recording the video, in which they bragged about drug dealing and violent assaults on rival gang members.

Bananas in pyjamas

One of the mistakes four armed robbers made when setting up their Blackberry group was calling it "Armed Robbers".

Terry Sullivan, Thomas Balderston, Christopher Heath, and Christopher Aldred all of Chatham, Kent, were jailed after being found guilty of seven armed robberies.

collect
0
Robert Flowers 2016-08-11
img

The successors to Silk Road, the darknet drug market shut down by the FBI in 2013, are raking in tens of millions of pounds in total revenue every month, according to a new report.

British dealers apparently have a serious finger in the pie, taking home roughly 16 percent of the global revenues, or around £1.75 million, between an estimated 338 vendors.

The report, commissioned by the Dutch government to gauge the growth of darknet markets in the years following the demise of Silk Road, found some good news for beleaguered law enforcement: "cryptomarkets have grown substantially in the past few years, but not explosively," though the numbers of vendors and hosting sites have grown.

In fact, researchers found around 50 of these markets in total, however, the total volume of listings is now only six times larger than in 2013.

Among the eight most popular marketplaces surveyed, there are plenty of illicit goods and services to buy, the vast majority 57 percent of the listings were found to offer drugs.

Over a third featured cannabis derivatives 37 per cent , stimulants 29 percent , and members of the ecstasy family 19 percent .

collect
0
Edward Hudson 2016-08-05

BRUSSELS—Online trade in illicit drugs via the hidden marketplaces known as cryptomarkets is growing, with revenue having doubled and transactions having tripled since 2013, according to a study published Friday.

The study was carried out by RAND Europe, a policy research institute, and commissioned by the Dutch government.

It identified 50 of the cryptomarkets around the world, predominantly run by drug sellers in the U.S., Australia and the U.K.

Monthly revenue of these marketplaces is estimated at between $12 million and $21.1 million, based on the listed prices on eight of the largest ones.

Despite the Federal Bureau of Investigation s closure in 2013 of Silk Road, at the time the largest cryptomarket for illicit drugs, dozens of others have emerged since, the study found.

Several other closures by law enforcement and scams by fake vendors over the past three years have failed to deter consumers from using online drug trading platforms, the report found.

collect
0
Donald Ellison 2016-08-11
img

Government gets powers to blacklist phones it thinks are being used by criminals behind bars

Prison inmates who run criminal operations using illegal mobile phones behind bars are being targeted by a string of new government powers.

Now, however, police and prison officers have been given a range of new powers allowing them to cut off illegally used mobile devices and stop the criminal activities they re aiding.

Thanks to these new measures introduced in the Serious Crime Act, prison governors no longer have to locate and confiscate illegally-used phones in prisons.

Instead, prison staff simply need to produce evidence showing that a certain mobile number is involved in illegal prison operations in a bid to get the phone cut off by network operators.

When the evidence has been shown and approved by the courts, the authorities can put forward a so-called telecommunications restriction order to ensure the phone is blacklisted and can t be used again.

collect
0
Dennis Masters 2018-06-01
img

It looks like some of those in Mexico really want Mobike's orange two-wheelers to themselves.

It's only been about three months, but bike thieves in Mexico are already threatening to bring Mobike's business to a screeching halt, Reuters reported Thursday.

Thieves are apparently using the bike-sharing service's bikes to "move drugs," residents in Tepito, Mexico, told the publication, which said it found nearly 60 bikes in the neighbourhood notorious for black markets peddling "clothing, pirated films and illegal drugs."

These bikes "never left" Tepito, Reuters added, which could be the reason users are unable to easily find Mobikes in the company's operating zones, according to complaints made online.

Mobike isn't alone in fighting bike theft.

Google, which provides its staff an internal dockless bike-sharing scheme within its Californian compound, also saw hundreds of its Gbikes disappear every week.

collect
0
Kristie Hernandez 2018-04-16
img

Police in South Wales have arrested a drug dealer based on a WhatsApp message with a photograph of the dealer’s hand holding an assortment of pills, according to a report from the BBC.

Despite that the photo only offers a glimpse of a small part of the dealer’s fingerprints — which weren’t entirely useful in actually locating the dealer — forensic scientists were able to use those pieces to confirm that the identity of the suspect matched the person police officers had apprehended.

According to Dave Thomas, a representative of the South Wales Police’s scientific support unit, the 11 arrests made through the bust mark the first convictions in Wales based on fingerprints from a photo.

It also speaks to the improvement in smartphone camera technology over the past few years, where seemingly innocuous pictures are now detailed enough to serve as forensic evidence when it comes to identifying people.

collect
0
Dwayne Alcorn 2017-08-14
img

Law enforcement can't always move fast enough to fight wrongdoers on the darknet.

But bad reviews could help keep them at bay.

Some parts of the darknet operate like an eBay or Amazon for illegal goods or services, ranging from the illicit to the abhorrent.

And while law enforcement is proactively engaged with the problem, criminal investigations can take a long time to pursue, which is why experts are helping to come up with new ways to pour cold water on the darknet marketplace.

One such researcher is Scott Duxbury, a sociology doctoral student at Ohio State University.

Duxbury’s idea for cracking down on darknet drug sales is strikingly simple: leave bad reviews.

Alex Blair 2017-07-14
img

Despite the death of a central character in season 2, the makers of the Netflix hit Narcos have more stories to tell about the Colombian drug trade.

Netflix on Friday announced the third season of Narcos will return on September 1 — and there will be some big changes.

Spoiler alert: If you aren’t caught up on the show, you may want to avoid the spoilers that follow.

The upcoming season follows the rise of a new drug syndicate — the Cali cartel — following the death of Pablo Escobar at the end of the second season.

The Cali cartel appeared throughout Narcos‘ first two seasons, usually as a bloody thorn in Escobar’s side.

With Escobar in the ground instead of on top of the Colombian drug market, the Cali cartel is poised to show us how Narcos was never just about Escobar.

Everett Toliver 2017-08-12
img

MONTREAL - When drug users go online for the first time to buy opioids, they aren't looking for the widest selection or the best prices for their illicit purchases, a new study suggests.

"When opioid users are making that first purchase, price doesn't matter at all," said Scott Duxbury, lead author of the study and doctoral student in sociology at The Ohio State University.

"This core group could be less vulnerable than their real-world counterparts to disruption by law enforcement," Duxbury said.

Duxbury and Dana Haynie, professor of sociology at Ohio State, conducted the first study to investigate the network structure of an encrypted online drug distribution network, examining the web of connections between buyers and sellers.

"The accessibility and ease of purchasing illegal drugs online opens up a global market where buyers and sellers are no longer constrained by locality and buyers have more options and diversity in product selection," Haynie said.

They presented their research Aug. 12 in Montreal at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association and in a paper published recently in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology.

Steven Cusick 2017-10-18
img

The Supreme Court this week announced that it will hear a landmark Internet privacy case dealing with the ability for law enforcement and government officials to access data stored in other countries.

The case is called US v. Microsoft and the two have been fighting since 2013.

Four years ago, federal investigators believed they located the e-mail account of a drug trafficker.

They obtained a warrant to get data from the Microsoft Outlook account which was registered in Ireland.

Microsoft partially complied by handing over information that was stored on its US servers but refused to retrieve any data from Ireland.

The case was escalated to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York; they sided with Microsoft.

Brad Patterson 2017-10-08

"Drug dealer caught because of BitCoin usage," writes Slashdot reader DogDude.

TechSpot reports: 38-year-old French national Gal Vallerius stands accused of acting as an administrator, senior moderator, and vendor for dark web marketplace Dream Market, where visitors can purchase anything from heroin to stolen financial data.

Upon arriving at Atlanta international airport on August 31, Vallerius was arrested and his laptop searched.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents allegedly discovered $500,000 of Bitcoin and Bitcoin cash on the computer, as well a Tor installation and a PGP encryption key for someone called OxyMonster...

In addition to his role with the site, agents had identified OxyMonster as a major seller of Oxycontin and crystal meth.

"OxyMonster's vendor profile featured listings for Schedule II controlled substances Oxycontin and Ritalin," testified DEA agent Austin Love.

Donald Koontz 2016-06-06
img

So, as a man who kicked a Royal Marine in the head is jailed after boasting online of a suspended sentence, BBC News looks at cases where users of social media have ended up in trouble with the law.

Strangely prophetic, as he's now "doing time" without a party

Where we may previously have been satisfied by bragging to our mates in the pub, it's now easy to mouth off online - and therefore announce our ill thought-out opinions not just to the general public but to the judiciary.

He's now swapped champagne for porridge, and is serving a 12-month jail term.

HMP Birmingham prisoners Demehl Thomas and Moysha Shepherd admitted recording the video, in which they bragged about drug dealing and violent assaults on rival gang members.

Bananas in pyjamas

One of the mistakes four armed robbers made when setting up their Blackberry group was calling it "Armed Robbers".

Terry Sullivan, Thomas Balderston, Christopher Heath, and Christopher Aldred all of Chatham, Kent, were jailed after being found guilty of seven armed robberies.

Edward Hudson 2016-08-05

BRUSSELS—Online trade in illicit drugs via the hidden marketplaces known as cryptomarkets is growing, with revenue having doubled and transactions having tripled since 2013, according to a study published Friday.

The study was carried out by RAND Europe, a policy research institute, and commissioned by the Dutch government.

It identified 50 of the cryptomarkets around the world, predominantly run by drug sellers in the U.S., Australia and the U.K.

Monthly revenue of these marketplaces is estimated at between $12 million and $21.1 million, based on the listed prices on eight of the largest ones.

Despite the Federal Bureau of Investigation s closure in 2013 of Silk Road, at the time the largest cryptomarket for illicit drugs, dozens of others have emerged since, the study found.

Several other closures by law enforcement and scams by fake vendors over the past three years have failed to deter consumers from using online drug trading platforms, the report found.

Dennis Masters 2018-06-01
img

It looks like some of those in Mexico really want Mobike's orange two-wheelers to themselves.

It's only been about three months, but bike thieves in Mexico are already threatening to bring Mobike's business to a screeching halt, Reuters reported Thursday.

Thieves are apparently using the bike-sharing service's bikes to "move drugs," residents in Tepito, Mexico, told the publication, which said it found nearly 60 bikes in the neighbourhood notorious for black markets peddling "clothing, pirated films and illegal drugs."

These bikes "never left" Tepito, Reuters added, which could be the reason users are unable to easily find Mobikes in the company's operating zones, according to complaints made online.

Mobike isn't alone in fighting bike theft.

Google, which provides its staff an internal dockless bike-sharing scheme within its Californian compound, also saw hundreds of its Gbikes disappear every week.

Cornell Lopez 2017-12-27
img

Authorities say a couple in California incorporated some cutting-edge tech into their drug dealing operation—only to discover that a whirring machine in the sky may not be more discreet than a person walking down the street.

Last week, 39-year-old Benjamin Baldassarre and 31-year-old Ashley Carroll were arrested in Riverside, California for allegedly selling illegal drugs using a drone.

They were also charged with child endangerment after police discovered there was a 9-year-old girl living at their home.

According to a Facebook post by the Riverside Police Department, narcotics officers were surveilling the couple’s neighborhood “when they observed a drone leave the rear yard of residence” which then “flew to a nearby parking lot and dropped a small package of narcotics which were recovered by awaiting customers.” To pay for the drugs, “customers would then drive by the couple’s home and throw their payments on the lawn,” the Associated Press reports.

I’m no contraband-smuggling expert, but it seems like a missed opportunity here to not put the money in the drone.

It’s not difficult to grasp the logic behind offloading drug-smuggling to a machine: anonymity, baby.

Michael Wilson 2016-05-30
img

Though it has many legitimate uses, Bitcoin has become somewhat notorious for its use as a currency for selling blackmarket goods online.

In 2013 the Australian police seized 24,500 Bitcoin in the state of Victoria, which were owned by an online drug dealer.

Three years on and according to the BBC the Victoria's Asset Confiscation Operations department is now planning to sell 24,500 coins off - with the total being worth around £8m.

As the BBC notes, this isn't the first time Bitcoin has been sold in this way - in 2014, the US Marshalls sold off 175,000 Bitcoins that had been confiscated from sellers on the Silk Road, the "darknet" marketplace for buying illegal goods.

Of course, if you can't afford the hefty asking price, then you could always mine some new Bitcoins yourself.

Well, if you have a massive server farm to hand, anyway.

Jennifer True 2016-08-23
img

A 27-year-old Irishman whom police say was an administrator on the Silk Road drug-dealing website is fighting to avoid facing trial in the US.

Gary Davis of Wicklow, Ireland was indicted in 2013.

US prosecutors say Davis was "Libertas," a Silk Road admin who helped with things like customer service and moderating the forums.

Davis was arrested in 2014.

Earlier this month, Ireland's High Court ordered that he should be extradited to the US.

Davis has been charged with conspiracy charges related to narcotics distribution, money laundering, and computer hacking.

Howard Marcinkowski 2016-07-27
img

Grindr not only functions as a social network for gay and bisexual men to meet other men in their area, but apparently also functions as a way to track down drug dealers, DNAInfo reports.

Unlike most other Grindr users, 55-year-old New York City resident Harold Gondrez Jr. apparently used the social network for more nefarious means, as an unnamed police source said his profile was flagged for coded language that the undercover officer recognized as a possible advertisement for drugs.

As a result, undercover officers were able to contact Gondrez through Grindr and have him sell them over half an ounce of methamphetamine three times between June 20 and July 12, according to court documents.

Eventually, police had more than enough evidence to raid his Stuyvesant Town apartment and arrest Gondrez.

In the apartment, police reportedly found a large quantity of meth and cocaine packaged for sale, with five small baggies of cocaine, seven bags of meth, five pipes with residue, and $4,000 in cash, with some extra cash found stashed in a couch.

As a result of the raid, Gondrez was formally charged with two counts of drug sales and two counts of drug possession.

Adam Amie 2016-11-01
img

Eagles are known as glorious birds of prey.

They are not as well known for being crime-fighting heroes.

However, this may be about to change as the Government has suggested that eagles could be given an unlikely promotion – as prison drone interceptors.

Sounds like a joke – but it's not.

UK prisons could use eagles to stop drug- and weapon-smuggling drones.

Speaking in the House of Commons, prisons minister Sam Gyimah said: The new threat by drones is a game changer.

Robert Flowers 2016-08-11
img

The successors to Silk Road, the darknet drug market shut down by the FBI in 2013, are raking in tens of millions of pounds in total revenue every month, according to a new report.

British dealers apparently have a serious finger in the pie, taking home roughly 16 percent of the global revenues, or around £1.75 million, between an estimated 338 vendors.

The report, commissioned by the Dutch government to gauge the growth of darknet markets in the years following the demise of Silk Road, found some good news for beleaguered law enforcement: "cryptomarkets have grown substantially in the past few years, but not explosively," though the numbers of vendors and hosting sites have grown.

In fact, researchers found around 50 of these markets in total, however, the total volume of listings is now only six times larger than in 2013.

Among the eight most popular marketplaces surveyed, there are plenty of illicit goods and services to buy, the vast majority 57 percent of the listings were found to offer drugs.

Over a third featured cannabis derivatives 37 per cent , stimulants 29 percent , and members of the ecstasy family 19 percent .

Donald Ellison 2016-08-11
img

Government gets powers to blacklist phones it thinks are being used by criminals behind bars

Prison inmates who run criminal operations using illegal mobile phones behind bars are being targeted by a string of new government powers.

Now, however, police and prison officers have been given a range of new powers allowing them to cut off illegally used mobile devices and stop the criminal activities they re aiding.

Thanks to these new measures introduced in the Serious Crime Act, prison governors no longer have to locate and confiscate illegally-used phones in prisons.

Instead, prison staff simply need to produce evidence showing that a certain mobile number is involved in illegal prison operations in a bid to get the phone cut off by network operators.

When the evidence has been shown and approved by the courts, the authorities can put forward a so-called telecommunications restriction order to ensure the phone is blacklisted and can t be used again.

Kristie Hernandez 2018-04-16
img

Police in South Wales have arrested a drug dealer based on a WhatsApp message with a photograph of the dealer’s hand holding an assortment of pills, according to a report from the BBC.

Despite that the photo only offers a glimpse of a small part of the dealer’s fingerprints — which weren’t entirely useful in actually locating the dealer — forensic scientists were able to use those pieces to confirm that the identity of the suspect matched the person police officers had apprehended.

According to Dave Thomas, a representative of the South Wales Police’s scientific support unit, the 11 arrests made through the bust mark the first convictions in Wales based on fingerprints from a photo.

It also speaks to the improvement in smartphone camera technology over the past few years, where seemingly innocuous pictures are now detailed enough to serve as forensic evidence when it comes to identifying people.