Code Black: Opioids on the Dark Web

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SARASOTA – For many people addicted to opioids, they turn to dealers and they can be right in their own neighborhood.

“It is much more anonymous than the standard way of purchasing drugs.”

As the founder of his own cyber security company, Douglas Logan knows a lot about dark web marketplaces and what you can find there.

“Fake ID’s, fake passports. There are sites that say they’re actually a hit man service.”

Among the illegal purchasing options, Logan says there’s a host of vendors for opioids, all sent to the buyer’s home through standard U.S. mail, right under the noses of law enforcement.

“It’s much more difficult to tell the difference between something that’s being mailed to them that’s a normal a package or whether it’s something that’s actually malicious with illicit goods inside of it.”

And it doesn’t take much tech skill to get to these sites. Once virtual currency is bought, “it’s something that my mother or my grandmother could figure out how to do with a little bit of googling.”

Then, Logan says accessing the market is only a matter of time.

“It’s not any more complicated than purchasing on Amazon.com or any other website.”

“To test how long it takes for someone with no knowledge, me, to get on to the dark web, we’re going to time it, starting… now.”

After downloading some software, a couple of Internet searches and filling out new account quizzes, I was there.

Less than nine minutes and I was in a position to buy Fentanyl in bulk with a host of other drugs and buyers to choose from. Logan says sites like these are often taken down.

“Once they figure out the owner, they’re able to actually do research and close the site. So your regular police-work is effective in this, it does take a lot a time.”

And it’s that time that’s the problem. Alphabay, a large dark web marketplace shut down in July, was making sales for five years.

“I can assure you from year number one, law enforcement has been trying to figure out who owns that place to shut it down because it has such a significant impact, and yet it still took five years to do.”

But Logan says shutting down marketplaces is just a temporary solution.

“The real answer is going to be when the real problem is addressed. Associated with what’s causing people to seek out these sites. Why is it that the drug problem has gotten so much worse?”

A good question that Logan is still trying to answer.