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February 1, 2013

Internet increasingly becoming as facilitator for drug trafficking: report

The rise in globalization and communication technology has increased complexity of tracking drug routes

By CBR Staff Writer

Users are increasingly turning to internet to purchase drugs, as the platform virtually facilitates buying any kind of illegal drug and get delivered by post with no requirement of directly contacting the dealers, according to a new report.

The report compiled by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and Europol revealed that Internet technology has also emerged as an important facilitator for drug rafficking networks.

Europol director Rob Wainwright said Internet technology has also emerged as an important facilitator and is commonly used in the marketing and sale of drugs.

"International drug trafficking remains the principal activity of most organised crime groups. They are adapting to new criminal opportunities and changing smuggling methods and routes to evade law enforcement, and we have noticed an increase in the exploitation of legitimate commercial transportation options, such as containers, aircraft, couriers and postal services," Wainwright said.

"This allows drugs to be moved through multiple transit points making them harder to intercept."

According to the report, globalisation turned out to be an important driver of developments with more number of countries are being used as transit, storage or production points with Internet acting as a communication tool and online marketplace for the trade.

EMCDDA director Wolfgang Goetz said that the behaviour of drug users had also been changing.

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"Patterns of drug use have become more fluid, with consumers often using multiple substances or substituting one drug for another," Goetz said.

The report found that the northwest Europe, which includes the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and northern France were the areas with high organised crime mainly due to several transport hubs.

According to Wainwright the region’s position as a final destination for cocaine and heroin, in addition to people trafficking and prohibited immigration had made it a chief concern.

Further, the report suggested the European Union to target high-value crime groups, create intelligence on the geographic relocation of potential criminals, disrupt money flows and develop hurdles to sales of drugs on the Internet.

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