India has seen an almost threefold rise in heroin shipments captured by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). The drug enforcement agency captured 7,282 kg in 2021 from 2,146 kg captured in 2017 to, the NCB chief SN Pradhan said on Tuesday.
Drug syndicates and cartels operating in India are choosing the sea route and the darknet over other ways to smuggle illicit drugs. Darknet is the hidden part of the internet that can only be accessed using specialised software and pre-configured communication protocols.
NCB’s effective surveillance has led in greater confiscation of illegal drugs, Pradhan said while inaugurating a hackathon titled Darkathon 2022 in Delhi.
“There has also been a 172% increase in opium seizure (from 2,551 kg in 2017 to 4,386 kg in 2021) and 191% increase in seizure of cannabis (from 3,52,539 kg in 2017 to 6,75,631 kg in 2021),” he said.
The hackathon, aimed at identifying and cataloguing active darknet markets selling drugs, is being organised in three phases, and will conclude on April 22.
The World Drug Report 2021 of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said that 94% of the sales in darknet markets are related to illicit drugs, the NCB head said.
The drug enforcement agency last week busted a nationwide network of smugglers, who were using the darknet and cryptocurrencies to trade in illegal drugs.
“Cybercrimes have permeated almost every facet of society and are growing in volume, velocity and sophistication with each passing day, posing challenges to best efforts of law enforcement agencies in India and across the world,” the agency said in a statement. “The anonymity offered has drawn criminals in all garbs to flock to it for aiding and abetting their crimes. Drugs are the most widely offered illegal substance in all of the darknet markets.”
What Is Heroin?
Heroin is a drug that comes from a flower, the opium poppy, which usually grows in Mexico, Asia, and South America. It’s very addictive and has been illegal in many countries. It can look like a white or brown powder, or a sticky black “tar.” It’s also called horse, smack, junk, and brown sugar.