The coronavirus pandemic is still in force after so many months, and the COVID-19 lockdowns are frequent. Even in such a condition, the online drug markets are entering into the golden age. The sales have shot up, the delivery times are even faster than the regular online stores and what is more striking is that the defence mechanisms against the hackers have gone to a different level altogether, as per the analysis done in this period.
The research states that the restrictions and the routines of people along with the working day have decreased for millions of people owing to the lockdown. This has led to inflation in buying drugs online, which is unusually widespread. The darknet researcher Dark.Fail states that the darknet drug markets are now moving into the golden era.
The European Agencies and the tech firms have unveiled that purchasing drugs from the online drug markets have been boosted by the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the results are reflected via the online sale of cocaine, MDMA, Mephedrone and Cannabis (Marijuana). In some of the reviews posted by the drug purchasers under specific dark web drug sellers have revealed that there are thousands of positive reviews regarding the quality of the drugs and the speed of the delivery.
The Drug Sales Shot Up Taking The Turnover To a Different Level
EMCDDA, the drug agency of the European Union (EU) had reported that a dark net drug market that sells only Cannabis, named Cannazon had sold 1.6 tonnes of Cannabis, having worth €5.2 million [$5.9 million] till 27% in volume between January and March this year.
The sales of the drugs online are pretty hard to measure in accordance with the certainty on the darknet marketplaces. But this can be done by checking the customer feedback with the help of the specialist software that would provide the estimated trends. As in the initial months, many of the UK’s largest online drug vendors have maintained positive feedback of around 1,000 to 2,000 sales monthly. This particular figure is widely in-line with the average number of sales of the vendor. What more was seen is steep in the larger-value orders, the cut-price custom deals as well as the COVID-19 themed deals, that has typically been given to the valued offline resellers. Some of the markets that facilitate dark-web drug trade like the Empire Market experienced a tripling in the purchases as having been measured by the customer feedback. Also, the UK-based vendors have reported little to no interruption in the supply of the drugs except for the hashish (hash) quality that has been unavailable since the middle of March this year.
Another stark thing that has been seen is the number of new sales conducted by first-time buyers. The lockdown has prompted them to buy drugs online, some out of necessity while for most of the others, it is either curiosity-driven or opportunity-driven. A 28-year-old Class A drug consumer from Middlesbrough states that he is a regular user and would be high on drugs during the weekends. As there is a lot more time due to the pandemic, he is consuming more of cocaine and ecstasy.
The major UK-based drug vendors have informed that their turnover had increased by roughly 25% in the first quarter of the year. The soar in turnover was due to the massive infiltration of the new buyers who had plenty of options from the advertised drugs to choose from.
Customers Are Still Receiving Their Orders Despite Weak Trade Routes
With the lockdown suddenly hitting nationwide, the darknet drug peddlers feared that their trade would go down due to the lockdown and tight borders, while the drug imports would be highly riskier. The smugglers rely on the commercial trade routes for covering their shipping. The shipping capacity worldwide fell by 20 per cent in the lockdown, which is lower than the last decade. It was felt that if lesser ships and precursors arrived, then lesser drugs would be made and sold. It did not transpire the way it was supposed to be. The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown had an impact on the global drug supply and prices. It has affected the Spice users in Manchester and the Mexican cartels but could not cause a serious dent in the drug sales, both online and on the streets.
The supply for MDMA prices on both online and offline proved to be a relatively good indicator of the supply-chain status. In most of the UK, the costs of the drugs per kg have increased, which is not an artificial one. The buyers have accused the suppliers on the increased price range, but the drug vendors have rightly set the drug price as the risks have increased as these are passed through the watchful borders.
The Speed Of The Drug Deliveries Have Been Affected, Yet Returning To Usual
The darknet drug trade was massively affected in the lockdown as the mail-sorting offices were over-run that hit it with short-staffing and thrust with millions of extra parcels as people highly depended on the online shopping. The dark web drug trade solely depends on these postal services and hence, such a scenario. Some of the buyers have stated that it took them longer than usual to receive their parcels. One of the buyers revealed that he received his package after long 12 weeks.
Initially, the delivery of the parcels took more than ever while in the latter months, the usual speed was resumed. In the middle of the year, the dark web marketplaces were surpassing the top retail giants. Some of the marketplace owners have revealed that the rate of “Dispute Requests” have also gone up and was left unanswered for nearly a week. Soon after, the darknet market vendors have introduced two new phrases against the delivery policies, viz., Next-Day Delivery (NDD) and Two-Day Delivery (2DD). One of the most helpful delivery agents was the Royal Mail that even recruited staffs during the coronavirus pandemic for easy delivery of the parcels and extending its helping hands to the darknet markets.
The online drug markets were initially going through a pretty rough time, and as time has progressed and the vendors, as well as the buyers, have figured out what to do, a lot of difficulties have been overcome. But this has proved one thing that no matter what the situation is, the dark markets will continue to bloom. While the governments have put in all of their efforts to bust the markets, yet the markets come out shining.
Disclaimer: Read the complete disclaimer here.