Agents in Kazakhstan Trained to Combat Dark Web Drug Traffic

Law enforcers in Kazakhstan were recently trained on how to counter and manage online dark web drug trafficking. The training targeted employees for domestic law enforcement agencies in the country’s capital of Astana. It involved 15 agents and they were taught in order to teach and train other agents. Also in attendance were representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and staff from the prosecutor office.

The training last four days in hopes of aiding the country’s longstanding efforts in countering darknet drug trafficking. It included analyzing web platforms popular with drug trafficking as well as instant messenger communication and payment instruments. Additionally, the service men and women trained on softwares specialized to access the darknet and deep web such as Tor.

The training was organized by the International Narcotics & Rule of Law Department of the US embassy in Astana. Playing a lead role was the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). OSCE gives comprehensive approaches to security on the economic, human, environmental and politico –military aspects. It gives attention to a vast range of sectors including human trafficking, arms control, border management and drug trafficking.

OSCE recognizes that tackling illicit drug trading on the dark web requires multi sector cooperation and hosts multiple trainings around the world. They also have elaborately organized distribution networks. Coupled with communicating through codewords, it makes it highly difficult to apprehend perpetrators. The limited details and data on the darknet scantly available on mainstream platforms make it further tasking to analyze.

It therefore calls for need of an intelligence model that can help penetrate the darknet and include international cooperation. The nature of the internet being universal demands a united front in tackling cyber crimes. People are able to trade in illegal substances amongst drugs easily through the internet and more prominently on the darknet. Furthermore, offenders rapidly come up with new tactics all the time. Once a working plan becomes known to enforcers, they ditch it for a more sophisticated one. Technological improvements expedite the camouflaging of darknet markets and their vendors.

Currently, Dream Market is said to be the predominant dark web marketplace after the seizure and closure of the two previously leading markets in 2017. AlphaBay and Hansa were closed down in July last year paving the way for Dream to be the market giant. Dream Market is suspected to be the world’s largest darknet marketplace for drugs with a reported 57,000 listings of drugs and 4,000 of opioids in 2017. Following the seizure of its counterparts, it is claimed that some of Dream Market stores are under the control of Dutch agents.

Later in August in the same year, a Dream Market administrator and vendor was arrested at a border search. His laptop revealed that he managed and traded on the darknet platform. Going by the pseudonym “OxyMonster,” Gal Vallerius was also found in possession of $500,000 in BTC on his device. He currently is the subject of series of investigations on the market that started in 2016.

A similar training in Astana took place in October 2017 where 12 officers underwent training.