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The opioid crisis in the United States hasn’t shown signs of stopping anytime soon. For some time now, synthetic opioids ordered via the dark web have proven to be a menace in America, causing the government and law enforcement to act in order to control the situation. Despite law enforcement playing their ‘A’ game, the illegal drugs seem to still find a way into the hands of individuals who under normal circumstances shouldn’t have access.
A major factor contributing to the opioid problem is the way they get to the dealers after they have been ordered from the dark web. They are normally shipped by mail, straight to the addresses or homes of the dealers. As a result, this made it challenging for the government to track and prevent the drugs entering into the country. As part of trying to halt that problem, the FBI has taken a stronger and more clever stance by going in hard on synthetic opiates being sold on various dark web marketplaces. Such was the case in the boroughs of New Jersey, Bradley Beach, and Little Egg Harbor.
With a tough-love message saying ‘we see you, now stop and get help,’ the FBI embarked on a journey of interacting with residents in New Jersey, all suspected of receiving packages of opiates. Between the 25th and 31st of March, FBI agents engaged directly with eight people who have all witnessed the destruction that this drug possesses.
Reports from the office of A Della Fave, Ocean County’s prosecutor’s spokesman indicates that 27 people lost their lives from a drug overdose in Ocean County this year. In addition to that, 99 people were also treated with an overdose antidote. Drug overdose also took the lives of three people in its adjacent county, Monmouth with 78 people also receiving medical antidote treatment, according to Chris Swendeman, Monmouth County prosecutor’s spokesman.
Speaking to reporters, an expert in illegal drug trade narrated how the dark web at the moment serves as a primary source for synthetic opioids, especially fentanyl, a deadly opiate which can cause great damage even in small doses.
Acting special agent in charge of the FBI in Newark, Bradley Cohen, told reporters that the FBI efforts in that state were mainly on spreading information, substance abuse intervention and education about the risks and dangers of online illegal drug sales. No arrests were made in New Jersey because of that, as agents, however, did not find any illegal drugs at the various locations they visited.
Special agent Cohen added that the FBI in New Jersey collaborated with the U.S. Postal Service to visit locations including Mount Laurel, Monroe Township, and Hillsborough all in a nationwide effort to crash online opiate sales. The project is called “Operation Disarray”.
“Law enforcement is here…and you need to cease that activity,” Cohen stated, and adding that ” if there is a problem, we’re here to get you help.”
Cohen still stressed on the dangers of illegal online drug dealings, added that a user might think that because of the anonymity that the dark web provides, one is safer than in-person purchases. What they do not seem to get is that a user has no knowledge of what other illegal substances drugs bought online might have been mixed with. He made it clear that receiving illegal drugs through the mail is a federal crime and law enforcement is always alert. “If you think that’s being secretive, it isn’t,” Cohen stated.
About the challenges law enforcement faces regarding illegal online drug sales, Cohen stated that the law may not clearly need technology assistance to provide access to a user’s online communication and encryption.