India is quickly becoming a hotbed of Bitcoin activity. We reported last week on an Indian media broadcast, creating news and shows around the digital currency and forecasting huge Bitcoin value increases due to high demand in India. Now, a burgeoning drug syndicate that used a combination of ‘The Darknet’ and Bitcoin to grow an illegal drug trafficking operation has been discovered by authorities according to sources.
Authorities have been tracking this activity for several months
India’s Narcotics Control Bureau first discovered two illicit drug vendors operating out of India, however, that number has raised to three. Discovering illegal ‘Darknet’ activity that can be traced directly to India is a priority for the NCB, as well as the seizure of Bitcoins. Authorities expect to confiscate up to 500 Bitcoins from one vendor, with possibly more to come. The vendors are believed to work out of Western India.
“For the first time, we have detected drug traffickers using the Darknet and Bitcoin for running the illegal drug racket in India. I can tell you that our investigations have shown that some of these operatives are based in the country. We are currently probing them,” Director General of the Narcotics Control Bureau, RR Bhatnagar, said earlier this year.
The Central Crime Branch of India is also becoming more vigilant in their combat of drug trafficking along the Darknet. The agency is using their national postal service to discover drug sent into and out of the country by mail through scans of all packages sent. This includes proof of identity required to send packages. Whether that includes common letters and envelopes is still unknown.
“While criminal probe agencies have seized a variety of assets like cash and immovable assets in their respective investigations all these years, Bitcoins have never been frozen as part of the tainted assets seizure. Bitcoin is equivalent to about Rs 1 crore in the Indian currency. The NCB is moving in that direction,” sources in the agency said.
Darknet prefered currencies
Bitcoin has long been used on the Darknet, for legal and illegal purposes. Over the past year, Altcoins like Monero have become a more preferred currency of Darknet choice due to its unique privacy attributes. Just two months ago, a spike in the use of Monero on the Darknet caused the currency’s values to rise from less than $2 to over $10 within a couple of weeks, briefly making it a Top 5 global digital currency. After the Oasis exit scam came to light, its demand and values dropped, and it currently trades at just over $5.