Archive for the ‘Drugs’ Category

If small-time drug dealer shadh1 had purchased his drugs from Australians, his jail term would be less than half what he received.

As a drug dealer, shadh1 was really really bad at his job.  One of the key performance indicators is an ability to stay off the radar of law enforcement authorities, who are obliged to arrest and prosecute people who sell drugs to other people when they find out it’s happening.

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Shadh1 failed miserably at the whole stealth thing.  He allowed customers to pass on his phone number to complete strangers for the purposes of ordering drugs, kept every single incriminating text message ever sent or received and left all the paraphernalia that screams ‘drug dealer’ strewn around his house.  He ordered drugs to his home address and his own name from countries from which mail is known to be more heavily scrutinised.  When twelve pieces of mail went missing, he just kept ordering more – to the same name and the same address – without stopping to wonder what happened to the ones that never showed.  He created a vendor account on the most famous online black market in the world, choosing an unusual username – the only other place it could be found was on his BMW’s numberplate.

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Last week, after one of my articles was unexpectedly submitted into evidence in court, an odd little online publication called Vexnews published a vicious, bizarre and inaccurate attack on me.

Screenshot of the Vexnews article

Screenshot of the Vexnews article

I said I wasn’t going to give it any oxygen in my last post, but I really think it should be pulled apart for the appalling piece of journalism it is.  Let’s have a look at Andrew Landeryou’s Vexnews piece, para by para:

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I haven’t yet written a background blog to my latest Fairfax Feature, Dancing With Molly.  If you happen to have come to my page as a result of that article, please have a quick look at a couple of relevant earlier posts:

Crap analysis shows wee problem with tough ecstasy laws – what happens when resources are directed into cracking down on MDMA? You create a crystal meth problem.

Why politicians and law enforcement should embrace Silk Road – to me, this is a microcosm of what life might be like with legalised drugs.  Knowledge of what is in the drugs you are buying, cutting out drug-related crime in Australia (though sadly still propping it up overseas), eradication of violence arising from drug deals.

I hope to see an intelligent debate on drug reform in Australia.  The fine folk at Australia21 must be incredibly frustrated to see their hard work and extensive knowledge ignored by the major parties.

For two weeks, users of online drugs marketplace Silk Road have been unable to log in to the site more often than not, reporting timeouts, missing catchpas and other technical difficulties.  Millions of dollars in Bitcoin has been inaccessible to the site’s thousands of members and trading has halted.

Where’s my Bitcoins?

The reactions of the community have run the gamut from hopeful acceptance to threats of violence against the site’s owner, admins and other random anonymous people.  Amazon has stocked up on pitchforks and tinfoil hats as speculation on the forum has reached fever pitch.

Here are five of the theories for its temporary demise, in one easily-digestible blog:

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Is Silk Road’s owner – The Dread Pirate Roberts – sailing off into the sunset with wads of cash? Has he sold Silk Road as a going concern and included the goodwill of his name and reputation in the price?

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Yesterday the Australian Institute of Criminology released a report that independently verified what they had already been told by users themselves:  when ecstasy is not available, recreational drug users turn to crystal meth.

Your dunny might be telling tales on you

The verification came from an analysis of sewerage water from a municipality in Queensland.  “Estimates were made of the average daily dose and average daily street value per 1,000 people. On the basis of estimated dose and price, the methamphetamine market appeared considerably stronger than either MDMA or cocaine.”

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Online drugs marketplaces are far better than the current alternative.

The author outside a perfectly innocent restaurant

Despite what certain newspapers and ‘current affairs’ shows would have you believe, the vast majority of drug users – even chronic drugs users – are happy, non-violent people who hold down regular jobs.  They don’t take drugs because there’s something lacking in their lives.  They take them because they enjoy them and because most recreational drugs don’t put the imbiber out of control like, say, alcohol.  And are far less likely to kill users than, say, tobacco.

The so-called ‘war on drugs’ has been a complete failure.  This is the opinion of pretty much all the people who ought to know – drug researchers, health professionals, former premiers, a former national police chief and former Defence Department chief Paul Barratt.  It seems the only people who don’t think so are politicians who need to appear ‘tough on crime’ to procure the votes of shock jock listeners who believe that all drug users are junkies ready to steal their wallet for their next fix.  Oh, and criminals.  Criminals don’t want prohibition lifted.

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A drug dealer ripping off customers?  The nerve!

Tony76 got to keep the money AND the drugs…

Silk Road, as I reported previously, is the online illicit drug marketplace that has defied law enforcement efforts to close it down.  Last month, Silk Road reported the greatest scam in its fifteen-month history, which cost the site’s users over a hundred thousand dollars in just two days.

Silk Road’s vendors live and die by their reputation and feedback, which buyers give much as they do on eBay.  Nobody on Silk Road had a better reputation or more enthusiastic feedback than Tony76, a vendor of heroin, stimulants and psychedelics from Canada.

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Below is the full text of an article I wrote for The Age, which was the Focus Feature on 27 April 2012.

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/the-drugs-in-the-mail-20120426-1xnth.html

A screenshot from online drugs marketplace Silk Road, taken April 2012

More Australians are buying illegal drugs from internet websites and having them delivered by regular post straight to their door. Eileen Ormsby reports on the new frontier of drug dealing.

IT’S JUST like eBay, complete with vendor feedback, sales, prize giveaways, gift certificates, and escrow and dispute resolution services. But Silk Road doesn’t sell CDs or used clothing – it’s a one-stop, internet shop for illegal drugs. Buyers quoted on the site’s forums say the drugs are cheaper and of higher quality. Customers are also keen on the fact that they no longer have to meet an unknown dealer in a dark alley somewhere.

And the delivery of drugs bought (illegally) on the Silk Road website is not carried out by a typical drug dealer – it’s done by the postman.

A growing number of people in Australia have abandoned traditional channels for buying illicit drugs in favour of purchasing them on Silk Road. Established a little over a year ago, Silk Road has grown from a relatively small operation into a thriving marketplace where consumers of illicit substances can browse listings of everything from prescription drugs to cannabis, methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin.