The coronavirus is having a strange effect on the war on drugs. Narcotics activities that were deemed serious crimes only a week ago have been dropped by U.S. law enforcement, who have greater concerns now that cities are under effective lockdown. Meanwhile, darknet vendors are doing their best to match increased demand for mail order drugs, with one seller raising their maximum order size to accommodate bulk buyers.
The War on Drugs Takes a Hiatus
Starting on March 17, Philadelphia police have stopped making arrests for all narcotics offenses. Coronavirus concerns have forced them to focus on more important matters, leaving the city’s recreational drug users and sellers to please themselves. Other crimes to have been deemed inconsequential in these straitened times are theft from persons, retail theft, theft from auto, burglary, vandalism, bench warrants, stolen autos, and economic crimes such as passing bad checks, fraud, and prostitution. That’s the view of Philadelphia cops, and it’s one that other U.S. cities seem to share; New York may start freeing jailed suspects.
While an unofficial truce on drugs was being called in Philly, on the darknet, it’s been business as usual. Vendors have been tirelessly shipping packages – mostly recreational drugs – to a housebound population, some of whom are living under state-imposed lockdown.
“We still ship once a day and we pack under strictest hygiene standards … All our employees are tested negative for Corona,” claims one vendor on the monero-friendly White House Market. “Due to the [coronavirus] situation we have lifted the limit of 20g per day per customer. Every customer can order as many [marijuana packages] as he needs.”
Health Guidelines Advise Drug Users to Stockpile
During a remarkable week for the recreational drug industry, Yale published a harm reduction guide for substance users who encounter COVID-19. After advising on which regulated drugs are likely to exacerbate coronavirus effects (crack and meth), the guide urges users of all recreational drugs:
If you have money and are able, stock up on your drug(s) of choice before things deteriorate. Avoid bingeing on drugs that you are stockpiling so you have access to a supply. Try to buy from people you trust and have as many ways to contact dealers in your area as possible.
Darknet buyers have needed no encouragement to load up: most DNMs have reported increased demand, while overworked postal services have caused deliveries to be delayed. As a result, White House Market has asked vendors to consider extending the time before orders auto finalize and funds are released.
Vendors Address the Corona Question
The coronavirus is everywhere right now, in meatspace and on the web, where it permeates Telegram groups, seeps through Twitter, colors the markets, and prompts darknet vendors to revise their listings. As news.Bitcoin.com reported last week, some DNM sellers have been capitalizing on the coronavirus through hiking prices, with one blaming Chinese precursor supply shortages for rising costs. Numerous vendors have taken efforts to convince customers that their drugs are packaged in a sanitary environment.
“We [will] compensate for this crazy time worldwide,” writes one vendor. “Coronavirus and the bitcoin drop compensation,” they explain before offering a global deal on 300 grams of 72% pure speed. They also assure shoppers that they always wear gloves when packaging items, to assuage corona fears. Another DNM vendor on Empire Market has claimed that “ecstasy is for partying and Molly is for quarantining,” adding that “Molly is a great time when trying to chill at home because unlike the party feel you get from ecstasy, Molly gives a relaxing euphoria,” before proceeding to shill their wares.
As for order delays, one Dread user insists that “Coronavirus [is] causing short staffing across the country, legitimate packages are taking longer atm, this ain’t DNM related.” There is evidence, however, that U.S. authorities are applying extra scrutiny to international packages arriving on account of coronavirus. “Our sources are usually incredibly reliable, but this month we have had a few very large packs disappear,” confesses one vendor. “Our theory is coronavirus.”
Do you think darknet sales will replace street sales if the coronavirus pandemic gets worse? Do you think police are right to stop arresting drug offenders? Let us know in the comments section below.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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