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According to new research figures released by Plymouth Live, reveals an increase in the number of dark web drug users and traffickers. The amount of dark web drugs recovered by police in Plymouth in the past 12 months is equally on the rise.
The figures show that over 1,210 drugs were seized between April 2017 and March 2018, compared to 905 in a similar research the previous year. These drugs include ketamine, diazepam methadone, cannabis, cocaine, heroin, Ecstasy and New Psychoactive Substances commonly known as legal highs.
Det Con Simon Rawlinson, a Drug Liaison Officer assisting in data collection cautioned people over making use of the dark web. When using cryptocurrencies to buy drugs online, they are at risk of being classified as illegal drug importers which could result to bigger fines or tougher jail sentences.
After the new research, Plymouth Live noticed unexpected discrepancies in the 2016/2017 figures of the total monetary value of drugs seized and reported by police; the information is misleading in the type, quality and quantity of drugs in circulation in Plymouth. In July 2017, Plymouth Live conducted an investigation and revealed that Devon and Cornwall Police had been sending flawed and misleading figures to the Home Office.
Police admit sending misleading data
In a statement, Devon and Cornwall Police admitted that they had inadvertently sent inaccurate and incomplete data to the Home Office. The police said they were grateful to Plymouth Live for noticing a flaw in their redundant system relating to drug seizures. According to Plymouth Live, cases in which drugs were seized without suspicion were not counted and recorded in the seizure figures.
Devon and Cornwall Police indicated that it had immediately rectified the flaw in the drug seizure data recording which means the latest figures were likely to be higher than the previous years.
A comparison of the questionable figures of 2016/2017 to the latest figures would suggest that there was a dramatic increase in all drugs seized by police. Cocaine increasaed from 1076.9 to 3,530.6 grams; amphetamine from 1,054.4 to 2,382.7 grams; diazepam/valium from 4,337 to 10,433 tablets; psilocybin also known as the magic mushroom from 20 to 101 grams; cannabis from 597 to 1609 plants and heroin from 1,210 to 4,337 tablets.
According to Det Con Simon Rawlinson, there is always an unknown amount of drugs in the streets and they are only able to record what has been seized which helps paint a faint picture on drug usage. The question will always be how much we have seized and not how much is left,” he said.
Major police operations
In 2017, major police operations such as the Operation Halo saw the Plymouth Drug Unit at work. Over 10kg of cannabis were seized in two cars along Military lane, Efford and further 6kg at a spare parts business. Investigation led to the arrest of a six-member dark web drug gang based in London which was responsible for the flooded cannabis plants in a number of farms uncovered and whose value was estimated at £9 million.
The latest figures indicate an increase in cannabis resins from 368.8 grams to 981.9 grams as a result of the evolving drug production habits. Cannabis resin is preferred as it can easily be imported mainly from countries such as Afghanistan where it is grown and manufactured before being packaged and smuggled back,” Det Con Rawlinson said.
Det Con Rawlinson also highlighted new packaging techniques currently being used by drug criminals to make importation easier into and from America where weed has been legalized as a recreation and medicinal product in some states. As some dark web drug dealers might see this as a big market for drug supply, the risk is greater as police are regularly contracted by postal services in America after seizing drug packages reading to successful prosecution.
Cannabis users risk losing their driving licenses
Det Con Rawlinson indicated that they had realized the trouble in which postal services systems were in, due to potential dark web drug buyers. “However, we are now impressed by the new modes of operation by Royal Mail Services including their ability and skills to detect illegal dark web drugs regardless of the packages used. We frequently get calls from the distribution center over packages of drugs heading to Plymouth. We follow the route of the package to its destination and either arrest or interview the addressee.”
He also warned cannabis users risk losing their driving licences. The DVLA will call you for a blood test since most drugs such as cannabis can last in your body system for about a month and failure to attend the test will lead to one’s licence automatically revoked.