India has registered its first case of illegal drug trafficking over the darknet using bitcoin as the mode of transaction. The country which has been slow in the adoption of digital currency in comparison with other nations has finally caught up with the global trend.
The reports of increased activity of darknet-based drug traffickers within the country were reported by the Indian anti-narcotics agency, Narcotics Control Bureau. Narcotics Control Bureau is the Indian equivalent of US DEA which is responsible for law enforcement and intelligence against drug trafficking and abuse of illegal substances.
According to the agency, there are currently two syndicates which are involved in the drug trafficking operations who are under the NCB’s scanner. The Director General of NCB, RR Bhatnagar was quoted by the Indian Press saying,
“For the first time, we have detected drug traffickers using the dark net and Bitcoin for running the illegal drug racket in India. I can tell you that our investigations have shown that some of these operatives are based in the country. We are probing them,”
Bitcoin has been the most favored currency of criminals and drug traffickers on the darknet for ages. Large deep web e-commerce sites like Silk Road have been instrumental in providing an organized platform for buying and selling narcotics, contraband and other illegal substances.
The rise in domestic drug trafficking involving “party drugs” comes at the time when NCB and other Indian law enforcement agencies have successfully reduced the inflow of heroin from across the national borders in Punjab. The State of Punjab has been the hotbed of drug trafficking and substance abuse involving heroin and opium. Following the government’s crackdown on these operations, many addicts in the region are moving towards prescription drugs and other concoctions to get their regular fix.
While referring to the new menace, Bhatnagar also mentioned that the use of deep web and bitcoin for drug trafficking is a concern as it becomes harder to track the perpetrators. But the agency is confident about dealing with the issue as it is enhancing its capabilities to detect such instances.
These incidents may pose a threat to the Bitcoin ecosystem in India, right at the time when the country’s government and regulators are opening up to the digital currency and blockchain technology.
Ref: Hindustan Times | Image: NewsX