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Getting cocaine is much easier today than ever.
This is claimed by the authorities of the United Kingdom, the country that has become “the largest consumer of cocaine in Europe”.
The British Secretary of State for Security, Ben Wallace, said on Tuesday that “this drug of high margins and demand” is causing an increase in violence in the streets of London, which has seen an increase in the number of assaults and homicides in recent years.
And, according to Wallace, new technologies have a lot to do with this phenomenon.
Thanks to smartphones and the internet , he said, younger traffickers can avoid being arrested, in addition to ordering the drug directly to more “serious” gangs.
The conservative parliamentarian said that the widespread presence of cell phones and the use and advances of encryption have reduced the number of “intermediaries” in the international drug trade.
Thus, young people have access to a tool to communicate with sellers and traffickers from a “safe and protected” environment.
Cell phones, encryption and bitcoins
“The young people have the capacity to ask for drugs and the gangs to send directly to their doors large packages coming from Serbia and Albania, or from local groups,” the minister explained.
“That has given real power to a system in a country where demand has grown rapidly , ” he added.
“In the old days, if you wanted to import large quantities of cocaine, you had to go to Colombia or have some contact, but in a space of about eight years that has changed, it is not necessary anymore.”
The minister said that, thanks to smartphones, it is now possible to manage drug trafficking from home and you can ” wash money almost instantly through bitcoins “.
The key, he said, is the reduction of intermediaries.
On the other hand, encryption allows people to feel more secure when placing orders.
Cocaine, he added, “is no longer exclusive to the yuppies or the rich” and its growing consumption in rural communities is causing territorial wars between different criminal gangs trying to impose their “comarca lines”.
“It is a drug of great margins and high demand at this time, and that is fueling the increase in violence.”
Wallace said that these “serious and organized” criminal gangs work with weapons and are capable of killing the traffickers if they get in their way.
The minister assured that he was not “deaf” to the claims of the opposition, which complains that the police cuts have increased the pressure on the agents to deal with the problem.
David Lammy, of the Labor party, warned that there will be more homicides in London if the authorities do not take urgent action.
Lammy already linked on previous occasions the increase in crimes in the British capital -67 so far this year-with cocaine trafficking.
The underground of the dark network
According to the European Report on Drugs 2017, of the European Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA, by its acronym in English), Spain is the second country in the region, after the United Kingdom, in cocaine consumption.
They complete the list of biggest consumers – in a survey of adults between 15 and 64 years old – Ireland, Italy and France.
“In some regions of Europe, control measures focused on store marketing influenced access to these substances, sales are made more clandestine, and online access and illegal markets play a more important role than in the market. gone, “says the agency.
He also explains that “in the last ten years, online markets have been developed , thanks to the emergence of new internet technologies, which coexist with the physical drug market.”
“Some online providers operate on the superficial Internet, but they can also operate on the deep internet , through dark-network markets.”
“Backed by technologies that protect the privacy of buyers and sellers, these are markets similar to legitimate ones, such as eBay or Amazon , in which customers can search and compare products and suppliers.”
Among the systems to “hide transactions”, the EMCDDA cites the anonymization services -which “hide the address of a computer’s internet protocol”, the cryptocurrencies for nontraceable payments- and the encrypted communication.
“Most of the sales in the dark internet markets are related to drugs,” he concludes.