PreviousNext

Drug dealers' website selling ecstasy and HEROIN doubles its sales to £1MILLION a month... and the police are powerless to ban it

By // World | Drug dealers' website selling ecstasy and HEROIN doubles its sales to £1MILLION a month... and the police are powerless to ban it
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
  • The 'Silk Road' website is known as the eBay of the drugs world
  • It allows people to find the best price for their drugs and also rate the sellers
  • Drugs are sent inside packages and then innocently delivered by post
  • The site has increased in popularity and now makes £1million a month
  • Australian dealer became first 'Silk Road' dealer to be convicted in February

By Suzannah Hills

PUBLISHED: 08:23 EST, 23 March 2013 | UPDATED: 06:50 EST, 24 March 2013

An illegal website is selling more than £1million worth of drugs every single month - with many of the banned substances being posted to buyers in the UK.

Visitors to the virtually untraceable 'Silk Road' website can buy ecstasy, heroin, cannabis and cocaine which is then disguised as a normal packaged parcel by the seller and sent through the post.

The website has been shrouded in secrecy since its launch in February 2011 but research tracking its growth in 2012 will be officially published later this year.

It shows that sales on the site doubled over a six-month period in 2012 reaching $1.7million sales - the equivalent of £1million - every single month.

Scheme: The website is set up like an online store, allowing customers to find the drugs they want at the best price

Scheme: The Silk Road drug dealing website is set up like an online store, allowing customers to find the drugs they want at the best price and to give feed back on the sellers

Illegal: Silk Road allows people to buy drugs like this block cannabis online and have it sent to them by Royal Mail via Silk Road - a website known as the eBay for drugs

Illegal: Silk Road - a website known as the eBay for drugs - allows people to buy drugs like this block cannabis online and have it sent to them by post

Dr Nicholas Christin, who conducted the research, said 'Silk Road' continues to grow and is extremely difficult to ban.

He told The Guardian: 'It's not a matter of police locking a few guys up to end this. It is very distributed - we are looking at more than 600 sellers each month.'

Silk Road operates as an illegal replica of online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, with buyers and sellers, dispute and resolution services and feedback ratings.

The website is accessed via a programme called Tor which enables all members to remain anonymous online and uses an 'onion' system to make sure their IP address is always hidden from police.

Tor is free software and an open network that makes identifying the physical location of the computers operating the marketplace – or anyone visiting it – all but impossible.

It protects internet users against a form of network surveillance and state security known as traffic analysis.

Dangerous: This cannabis was being sold but users say it is easier and safer than buying off a street dealer

Dangerous: This cannabis was being sold but users say it is easier and safer than buying off a street dealer

This cocaine was also for sale on Silk Road which is using complicated software to allow people to buy and sell anonymously

Brazen: This cocaine was also for sale on Silk Road which is using complicated software to allow people to buy and sell anonymously

The legitimate uses of Tor make disrupting the service morally difficult for police as it is used all over the world by activists who would otherwise be censored or persecuted in their home countries such as China and Iran.

HOW TOR SOFTWARE WORKS

Tor is a popular internet anonymising tool which can be downloaded for free from the web.

It enables all members to remain anonymous online and uses an 'onion' system to make sure IP addresses - each computer has its own one - are always hidden from police.

It makes identifying the physical location of the computers using the software all but impossible.

Tor

Tor only protects users from being monitored on applications that are properly configured to send their Internet traffic through the programme unless individuals also use it as a browser instead of Google or Internet Explorer.

As well as protecting users from being tracked by police, it also means they are protected from network surveillance and state security known as traffic analysis.

This makes interference with the website difficult on morality grounds as it is used by activists trapped in countries with oppressive regimes to communicate without being tracked by governments.

Prime examples are human rights groups in China and Iran which would otherwise be censored or even persecuted for expressing their views.

A large proportion of Tor's funding comes indirectly from the U.S. state department's internet freedom budget.

Tor only protects users from being monitored on applications that are properly configured to send their Internet traffic through the programme unless individuals use it as a browser instead of Google or Internet Explorer.

A large proportion of Tor's funding comes indirectly from the U.S. state department's internet freedom budget.

Users claim the website is a much safer alternative than meeting drug dealers on the streets. 

Drugs are bought with ‘Bitcoins’, an untraceable digital currency. It is not regulated by any government or company but just by mathematical equations.

The value is worked out by how many Bitcoins are in existence and how many are being traded.

Another knock-on effect of sites such as Silk Road is that the value of a 'Bitcoin' have gone from being virtually worthless to trading at $70 - around £46 - each.

A Bitcoin developer Amir Taaki denies that the currency is mainly used for illegal purposes.

He told the newspaper: 'People want drugs. The drugs war is probably a failed war. I want to get rid of cartels. The way to do that is for people to buy products straight from the producer. That's what's cool about things like Silk Road - you can bypass gangs.'

Australian Paul Leslie Howard reportedly used Silk Road to buy and import MDMA, amphetamine, marijuana and cocaine on 11 different occasions.

But Australian Customs and Border Protection Service officers in Melbourne and Sydney examined mail - most of which came from the Netherlands and Germany - destined for his home.

They found 46.9 grammes of MDMA and 14.5 grammes of cocaine, according to wired.co.uk.

The federal police then raided his house in July 2012 and found digital scales, ziplock bags, $2,300 (£2,000) in cash, 35 stun guns disguised as mobile phones and a money counter.

Howard pleaded guilty to two charges of 'importing a marketable quantity of a border-controlled drug'.

Amphetamine: This seller has piles of speed for sale, which is being sent by Royal Mail and landing on the nation's doorsteps

Amphetamine: This seller has piles of speed for sale, which is being sent by post and landing on the nation's doorsteps

Killer: Drugs like this Crystal Meth displayed on Silk Road is being sent all over the world by dealers

Killer: Drugs like this Crystal Meth displayed on Silk Road is being sent all over the world by dealers


Tagged : No tags for this article

Headlines Newsview all

Will the long distance kill our relationship?

By MAURICE MATHEKAMore by this Author My boyfriend and I have been in a relationship for two years. He is going for further studies in Australia ...

My boyfriend wants control of my money

By AUNT TRUPHENAMore by this Author Q: I have been dating this guy for three years now. I am 35 years old. He is not as ...

FLAKES: Beautiful but humourless

By KATE GETAOMore by this Author The airport taxi arrived at my hotel late at night. The entry procedures were complicated and my powers of observation ...

Poetry from the depths of the heart

By JOAN THATIAHMore by this Author “I was the child who always had her compositions pinned on the notice board because they were so good. Initially, ...

An eye for the babies

By JOAN THATIAHMore by this Author In 2009, after high school, Makena’s mother got her a camera to satiate her interest in photography and fill the ...

Fashion-forward babies (and the mothers who make them)

By Rachel WambuiMore by this Author There’s no argument that a parent’s role is to guide their child on how to best express and present themselves ...

How to minimise cellulite

By IRENE NJOROGE-KRISTIANMore by this Author If there is one beauty problem that is extremely stubborn and difficult to treat it is cellulite. This appearance of ...

Managing irregular income

By WACEKE NDUATI OMANGAMore by this Author Many people are not on a standard salary. There are those who survive on irregular sources of income. You ...

Are you an enabler of infidelity?

By FLORENCE BETTMore by this Author “He had been unfaithful all along but I chose to ignore that nagging feeling at the back of my head,” ...

An absolutely divine experience

By BON VIVANTMore by this Author It has been a few weeks since the conclusion of Nairobi Restaurant Week 2015. Undoubtedly, this citywide promotion created a ...

Tamasha’s steady rise to the top

By MAGDALENE WANJAMore by this Author It all started four years ago, when a group of 10 idle youth decided to pass time by forming a ...

Kenya Top Stories

The novelist and dramatist that I never heard of before

By AUSTIN BUKENYAMore by this Author He was a novelist and dramatist with several titles to his name. He also wrote a significant body of verse. ...

Malasso beyond Maralal

By RUPI MANGATMore by this Author At the edge of the flat grassland, the land drops and we’re at the brow of one of the most ...

New book reveals the growth of education since colonial days

By Nabiswa M. WasikeAuthors: Daniel N. Sifuna and Ibrahim O. OandaTitle: Historical and contemporary trends in the development of education in Kenya: Government policy, gender ...

READER'S CORNER: Ministry will not introduce set books in primary school

READER'S CORNER: Ministry will not introduce set books in primary schoolKennedy BuhereMwalimu Ashford Kimani asked the Ministry of Education to introduce literature set books in ...

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in Uganda to meet witnesses in LRA case

By AFPMore by this Author The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is visiting Uganda and is expected to meet witnesses in the Lord Resistance ...

Body of a Kenyan Man Recovered at the Harbor in Münster, Germany

The body of a Kenyan man was on Friday found at Münster’s harbor in Germany. Police say William, 22, may have drowned after accidentally slipping ...

Discontent in ODM as Raila Odinga Battles Rebellion

The Opposition party Orange Democratic Movement ( ODM) always has a new crisis to grapple with. This time round, the party is struggling to hold ...

City seek solace in title race as Liverpool aim to salvage season

By AFPMore by this Author Scarred by mid-week Champions League disappointment, Manchester City have a golden opportunity to enhance their Premier League title defence when they ...

Sofapaka’s mission impossible

By DAVID KWALIMWAMore by this Author The build-up to Saturday’s Africa Confederation match between Sofapaka FC and Zimbabwe’s FC Platinum has been overshadowed by a soft ...

TOP STORIES EXTRA

Masinde Muliro

Masinde Muliro (1922 - August 14, 1992) was a Kenyan politician, one of the central figures in the shaping of the political landscape in Kenya.
Masinde Muliro

Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya

Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya (August 15, 1930 – July 5, 1969) was a prominent Kenyan politician during Jomo Kenyatta's government. He was founder of the
Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya

Paul Joseph Ngei

The Honourable Paul Joseph Ngei (18 October 1923 - 15 August 2004) was a Kenyan politician who was imprisoned for his role in the anti-colonial
Paul Joseph Ngei

Ramogi Achieng Oneko

Ramogi Achieng Oneko (1920–2007) was a Kenyan freedom fighter and a politician. In Kenya, he is considered as a national hero.He was born in Tieng'a
Ramogi Achieng Oneko

Jaramogi Ajuma Oginga Odinga

Jaramogi Ajuma Oginga Odinga (c. 1911 – January 20, 1994) was a Luo Chief, who became a prominent figure in Kenya's struggle for independence. He
Jaramogi Ajuma Oginga Odinga

Josiah Mwangi Kariuki

Josiah Mwangi Kariuki (March 21, 1929–March 2, 1975) was a Kenyan socialist politician during the administration of the Jomo Kenyatta government. He held different government
Josiah Mwangi Kariuki

Waruhiu Itote

Waruhiu Itote (General China) (b. 1922; d. 30 April 1993) was one of the key leaders of the Mau Mau rebellion alongside Dedan Kimathi and
Waruhiu Itote

Musa Mwariama

Field Marshal Musa Mwariama (born 1928) is a former leader of the Mau Mau in Meru and the highest ranking Mau Mau who survived the
Musa Mwariama