Archive for the ‘Drugs’ Category

They used to be known as the “Amazon” or “eBay” of drugs, but modern dark web drug sales use a system more comparable to Yelp or TripAdvisor

 

Ever since Silk Road, the first mass-market point-and-click dark web drugs bazaar, made its debut in January 2011, the DNMs (darknet markets) have been invariably compared to popular e-commerce platforms. Reports would either refer to “the Amazon of drugs” or “the eBay of drugs” and point the parallels with those websites. Like Amazon, they were a one-stop shop for every drug imaginable, that could be popped into a basket and sent to the buyer with a range of shipping options. Like eBay, the sites brought buyers and sellers together and held payment in escrow until both sides were satisfied. Buyers would leave star ratings and feedback for the sellers, who would go out of their way to ensure their product and customer service would gain them a 5-star review.

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The man alleged to be Silk Road’s Variety Jones, Roger Thomas Clark, has finally been extradited from Thailand, where he has spent 2 1/2 years in Bangkok Remand, to face trial in the USA.

The pic the prison guard took with my phone

Variety Jones was basically unheard of until the trial of Ross Ulbricht, where he was revealed as a sort of behind-the-scenes puppet master, a Svengali-type figure who, according to the chat logs found on Ulbricht’s computer, was the first to suggest murder as a solution to a problem staff member.

I visited Clark (aka Plural of Mongoose) in Klong Phem Prison several times when researching The Darkest Web. Here’s a taster of what happened:

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Below is a callout to DNM vendors to share their views about DNMs and the perceptions of others about what you do. I know some of the independent researchers involved in this initiative personally, the others by reputation, and they have my full confidence that they will pull out all the stops to maintain confidentiality and integrity of their sources. They are people I admire in the field of drug policy and harm reduction research.

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Obviously with everything that’s been going on in the DNMs of late, most would be understandably reticent in coming forward, and certainly if you have any questions about your own opsec abilities you probably should stay away. But if you are a vendor who is truly committed to harm reduction and fighting the War on Drugs, I urge you to look at their previous publications and consider getting in touch with the researchers via the means at the bottom of the callout.

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Do you sell drugs online?

Are you interested in sharing your views about online drug trading, the darknet community, and what law enforcement and the media are saying about you?

If yes, then we are interested in talking to you!

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Today’s blog is a guest post by jesusofrave. Jesusofrave is one of the most enduring brand names of the darknet markets since the early days of the original Silk Road when they sold direct to users.

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Fast forward 4 years, and jesusofrave is a wholesale supplier of MDMA and LSD, operating across all major darknet markets, as well as supplying direct through their own dark web site, The Church. They have some major plans for the near future, including providing significant assistance and donations to organizations using psychedelics in therapy.

Here they tell how they got to where they are.

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Silk Road may be gone and Silk Road v.2 yet to prove itself, but the site has become culturally significant enough to attract the attention of some serious academic researchers. And unlike the plethora of tabloid news pieces, their starting position is not always that the online black market is a den of evil inhabited by junkies and thieves with no redeeming features whatsoever.

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The National Drug and Research Institute is a Curtin University-backed research body committed to minimising the harm associated with drug use. The NDRI is calling for Silk Road users to participate in research and interviews about their experiences using the site.

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There are certainly winners from last week’s shutdown of Silk Road, the online black market where every illicit drug imaginable could be bought at the click of a button. But it’s not a win for the War on Drugs, nor for people affected by drug addiction, or for the Australian taxpayer.  The people who will welcome the FBI’s seizure of the site most enthusiastically will be bikie gangs and other organised crime involved in illegal drug importation.

Back when I first started reporting in the mainstream about Silk Road, I wrote a post, ‘Why politicians and law enforcement should embrace Silk Road‘. I argued it was a safer alternative than the current model and reduced the violence associated with the illegal drug trade.

Winning! You can buy your drugs from him now

Winning! You can buy your drugs from him now

Now that Silk Road has been closed down and hard-earned tax dollars all over the world are being spent busting computer nerds, amongst the hyperbole and hysteria that comes from much of the mainstream media, there are some commentators piping up with the same arguments. Because they make sense.

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“Atlantis admins shut down the site and ran away with the coins. It’s the truth.” – Cicero, Moderator of Atlantis Marketplace forum

Image: bitcoinexaminer.org.

Image: bitcoinexaminer.org.

A little under six months ago – not long after they opened shop – I conducted the first in-depth interview with online drug barons Loera and Vladimir, founders of Atlantis Marketplace.  The two were excited at the prospect of not only wrenching market share from incumbent black market giant Silk Road, but also bringing new business in and legitimising the online illicit drug market space.

Last week, Atlantis announced it was shutting down due to mysterious and unspecified “security concerns”.

The announcement, repeated on the Atlantis Facebook page, official forum, Reddit and Twitter, called it “terrible news” and the owners sounded truly contrite. They gave users a week to withdraw their crypto-currency, after which it would be donated to a “drug-related charity”.  That was the last anybody ever heard from anyone representing the administration of Atlantis.

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