The online drugs market is a current law enforcement challenge

Authors

  • Vári Vince NUPS

Keywords:

Covid 19 pandemic, drug market, darknet, police, principle of legality

Abstract

Purpose: The study examines the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on the online drug market. It is shown that law enforcement in Hungary and around the world has not been adequately prepared to deal with and prosecute the onlineisation of drug trafficking. Law enforcement in legal, organizational, and professional obstacles have been encountered. The key is to identify the nature of these obstacles and plan possible effective responses. This is taken primarily from a criminal procedure perspective.

Methods: Given the research objectives, the study will primarily review domestic and foreign literature and analyze domestic legal norms. It is also based on statistical data and research findings from international organizations. In particular, the anomalies related to the principle of "ex officio" and the shortcomings in the legal regulation of parcel services and darknet cryptocurrencies will be analyzed. The analytical and systemic analysis highlights the difficulties in prosecuting online drug trafficking.

Findings. In the early stages of the pandemic, disruptions in the drug supply chain were a significant price driver. The drug market, opening up to cybercrime and exploiting its potential for its ends, shifted part of its distribution system to delivery by mail order services with less regulated trade. Bulk drug orders are placed in so-called encrypted chat rooms on the darknet and other online platforms in the online drugs market. The delivery services do not record customer data, and payment methods are not documented by the supplier due to the use of cryptocurrencies or cash payments and are therefore untraceable. Investigating authorities must have several legal and organizational options to avoid investigating drug offenses that would otherwise be on the demand side. The Achilles' heel would be to relax the strict principles of "legality" and "ex officio". The legislative change could also improve the effectiveness of detection and evidence by introducing stricter regulation of the activities of courier services.

Value: The results could be helpful for policymakers, crime prevention practitioners, and police management. The study has the potential to inform the broader scientific community about the complex dangers of online drug trafficking. The study can be an essential starting point for further research into new phenomena of a drug crime, particularly to achieve effective law enforcement solutions to online drug trafficking. The paper also points out that the changed circumstances call for new legal and forensic recommendations.

References

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Published

2023-04-06

Issue

Section

Etiology, Phenomenology and Trends of Contemporary Crime