back to article Uncle Sam is shocked, SHOCKED to find dark-web bazaars trading drugs, weapons, etc

In news that will surprise no one who has had internet access in the last 25 years, crooks have been using online souks to tout drugs, weapons, and, shockingly, other illicit goods. The Feds announced Tuesday they had busted a $23.6m contraband-peddling operation spread over a handful of dark-web marketplaces. US prosecutors …

  1. Oh Homer
    Black Helicopters

    "At this crucial time"...

    ...of DEA budget requests.

  2. Chris G

    To put the gains by the cops in the article into perspective:-

    "The Organization of American States estimated that the revenue for cocaine sales in the U.S. was $34 billion in 2013. The Office of National Drug Control Policy estimates that $100 billion worth of illegal drugs were sold in the U.S. in 2013."

    So they have a way to go in order to make a significant impact but it sounds good on the news when they make headway against things like the 'Dark Net'.

    1. mrobaer


      It reminds me of the economy headlines where such and such cost $300 million to the US Economy. When compared to the GDP is close to $20 trillion. The numbers are just so out of touch with the average viewer....

  3. adnim

    So wrong

    "Criminals who think that they are safe on the Darknet are wrong,”

    Although this is a nice blanket statement to discourage potential law breakers. Has Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had any experience (other than the obvious opportunities of office) of being a criminal and using the Internet to commit crime?

    Fools, the greedy, the impatient, the ignorant and the less cautious criminals tend to think they are safe on the darknet and drop breadcrumbs.

    Those with the real smarts (I prolly die before I put myself in that group) aren't even noticed.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: So wrong

      And that's just that, criminals who get caught usually do so out of sheer dumbness and shortsightedness (they might believe they planned their crimes thoroughly but then they get caught.. QED).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So wrong

        Well neither we nor the feds know exactly how much undetected activity there is on the dark web, but any site that becomes very big has a good chance of being compromised eventually. I'll bet there are several more dark web sites not involved with this sting that have the beginnings of operations on them.

        The local cops arrest someone for possession with intent to deliver, ask where he got it, and then in exchange for leniency in sentencing he cooperates and they bring the feds in on it who use his ID on that darkweb site to order more, use the tracking info on the shipment to find where it was sent, place a second order and stake out the place he shipped from, which nabs another guy and all his customers, then go up the chain to his supplier...

        The only way to stay off the radar is to keep a really small circle, but most criminals are greedy, and greed means you don't want to stay small when going bigger means more money!

    2. Mark 85

      Re: So wrong

      Those with the real smarts (I prolly die before I put myself in that group) aren't even noticed or go into politics.


      1. JustWondering

        Re: So wrong

        Mark 85:

        Teenager: I'm thinking of going into organized crime.

        Parent: Government or private sector?

    3. Fungus Bob
      Thumb Up

      Re: So wrong

      "(I prolly die before I put myself in that group) "

      Smart move, even the US government can't successfully prosecute the dead.

    4. JustWondering

      Re: So wrong

      There is also the thought that police only have to be right once.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile, the DEA drug crackdown has the medical profession so terrorized (yes, really), that prescriptions of pain-killing medication is not going to happen. I've level 10 pain on a regular basis here, I'm terminal as well, nothing doing aside from antidepressants to stop me killing myself on a far more regular basis. [I've even succeeded but they brought me back despite a DNR.] 30 mg, 3-5 times a day, Morphine used to work. Now even Demoral is useless.

    I have to wonder about people buying Tramadol. I've had that before and hasn't done a damn thing. Need bigger guns than that. It's getting seriously tempting to go the Dark Market approach and cost be damned.

    1. Mark 85

      That is one if not the biggest problem with the "War on Drugs". My wife is on heavy pain meds due to injuries, birth issues, just too many to list. Instead of the doctor writing a script for multiple months, she has to get one every month. Then there's questions by various organizations about her usage. Borders on harassment, IMO. DEA and others seem to suspect anyone taking pain meds as either a pusher or junkie and not as a patient with real pain issues. I suppose that politics and budget for some agencies is more important than people who have serious health issues.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ardound these parts (US West), this took off as an issue by DEA while marijuana was being legalized. I wonder how much of this is agents looking for replacement work and how much an acutual "opiod epidemic?"

        1. Mark 85

          Good point. I'm in Oregon so it does make you wonder. The catch I think, is DEA itself. Until all the States legalize it, or Congress acts and bans it totally, we'll continue to see the DEA muck about like a lost puppy. The "war" against drugs is very similar to the latest "war" against illegal immigrants. The fed LEA's want more power and employees. Take something away, and they're lost.

    2. deive

      This is why weed needs to be legalised :-) that is something the US is leading on though (or at least the forward looking States)!

    3. Steve the Cynic

      Meanwhile, the DEA drug crackdown has the medical profession so terrorized (yes, really), that prescriptions of pain-killing medication is not going to happen

      For contrast... Here in France, Mrs Cynic had a terminal kidney cancer, metastatic and all that. Bad scene, but there was no problem getting morphine in the hospitals and high-end opioid painkillers on prescription for home use. The doctors had to use the special tripartite hand-written prescription forms and the pharmacists had to do all manner of extra verification, but I could walk out of the pharmacie with very high-potency stuff.(1)

      (1) After she passed, I still had a big ol' pile of this stuff(2) and less than no wish to use it for anything at all. I asked the pharmacist what I should do with it, and they said to bring it in to them and they would take care of disposing of it correctly, and so I did and that was that.

      (2) It's the sort of thing where, really, one pill left in one of those encapsulation sheets would count as a big ol' pile as far as I'm concerned, but it was enough for a couple of weeks even at the level she needed to take it. And enough paracetamol (acetaminophen) to kill a small army.

  5. StuntMisanthrope

    Refund please...

    It's not really a lot is it, multiple agents, years of man hours, ages to prosecute and the kingpins locked up. Meanwhile, humanity roll's on. It just seems there's a better way. In another headline there's now a new prescription drug which prevents seizures by using CBD at an unknown cost margin but it's not going to be cheaper even with control and tax overheads. Put it this way, if you're any good, there's billions on the table. Remember kids. Drugs: Caution. #rootandbranch

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Refund please...

      "using CBD at an unknown cost margin"

      After all clinical trials don't cost much to do.


      A hashtag. Is that you, Amber?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Drugs, weapons, illicit goods? is there no end to this depravity?

    How deep is this cesspit?

    The next thing you know, degenerates will be putting smut and wanton pornography online.

    Mark my words, this internet thingy is the beginning of the end.

    We didn't have drugs, weapons or smut in my day. We'd count ourselves lucky if we found a weatherbeaten mail-order lingerie catalogue in the bushes to fuel our five-knuckle shuflles.

    1. 's water music
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Drugs, weapons, illicit goods? is there no end to this depravity?

      We'd count ourselves lucky if we found a weatherbeaten mail-order lingerie catalogue in the bushes to fuel our five-knuckle shuflles.

      Back in those days my handiwork was pretty much self-fueling. Taking a turn with whatever Pr0nz was in circulation at school or coming across a stash carried a serious risk of a runaway reaction and chafing injuries.

      Takes more than that to get the motor running these days -->

  7. Herby

    Now if they as zealous as this on spam...

    I might get a bit enthused. When you get so much in your mailbox only to have most of it discarded, it really does "cost" people money to deal with it.

    I'm sure that there are people out there who would willingly help in this law enforcement effort if they could haul their a**es to jail pronto!

    Of course the same goes for robo phone calls to.

    Oh, I'm not holding my breath.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A psychedelic mushroom farm?

    Someone was selling a farm on the dark web? I didn't know it had got that big, next thing you know Miami Beach condos will be for sale there!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Drug-roaches they hide just about everywhere

    Those pesky critters of the dark, you think you got them and then you open another box or cupboard and there they are hiding in some dark corner.

    One of those things you cannot eradicate but it feels good to get a whole lot of them once in a while, makes you feel things are not getting out of hand.

    If DEA made it more rewarding to turn a nest of them in maybe they would catch more of them.

  10. Florida1920


    In the name of $DEITY, Jeff Sessions is arguably committing crimes against humanity on America's southern border. Sessions is a putz.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A good days work

    Well actually many days of hard work no doubt. At least this will remove a token number of evil people from society for a few years. It's a good start but the crims outnumber law enforcement 10,000 to 1 and the odds get worse by the day. Digital crime is so out of control that if the populace really knew how bad it is they would lose their minds. It's not just the dark web it's the massive hacking by evil people and countries. It's only going to get worse because the crims have the upper hand.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A good days work

      I seiously doubt the "losing their mind" part. These things don't become real to pretty much all of humanity unless and until it happens to themselves and members of thier social group and they get together and compare notes. The mind isn't very good at computing and understanding "the odds." John Stossel has covered it pretty well over the years. Otherwise, people wait for the extremely rare event, Alar, lightning, terrorism, you get the idea, to happen to themselves. "Fish aren't aware of the water."

  12. Schultz

    "... the Darknet invites criminals into our homes ..."

    How does that work exactly? Did I miss the invite?

    1. 9Rune5

      Re: "... the Darknet invites criminals into our homes ..."

      Well, they are obviously vampires. Vampires, as you well know, cannot cross the threshold of one's home unless invited.

      That is why we need good people like Buffy. Preferably in the nude. I think I lost my train of thought now, but you get the idea.

  13. Arnie


    Dear, dear all that dark web nonsense is a bit complicated to get some Jamaican woodbine's, haven't they been on Instagram?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    rooks have been using online souks to tout drugs,

    funny, how people see what they want to see... I read:

    spoks have been using online souks to tout drugs (to bust the evildoers, not to fund the good terrorists)

  15. nichomach
    Big Brother

    "Feds bust shady people doing shady things on shady sites" - Quite right too; that's the government's job!

  16. Toilet Duk

    Yes, how dare they sell drugs on the internet? Only the CIA and Big Pharma is allowed to sell destructive drugs. As for weapons, you would never find the US government doing that.

  17. Chairman of the Bored
    Thumb Up

    With apologies to Stanley Kubrick

    From Dr. Strangelove:

    (Maj "King" Kong) "...Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff."

  18. HamsterNet


    DEA Budget was $2 BILLION. They stop less than 1% of the illegal drugs trade in the USA.


    How do you suck that bad at finding drug dealers? They really are not hard to find at all. It would make more sense to spend the budget on just buying the drugs! they would get x3 the amount of the streets.

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