Youngsters buy the drug from darknet using bitcoins

Last month, the Ernakulam Rural police picked up three youngsters, in their late teens and early 20s, found loitering in Perumbavoor town in suspicious circumstances in the early morning hours.

It emerged that they had been out to sell 45 LSD stamps found in their possession, which the student of a premier engineering college in the city amongst them had bought in the name of the other two.

“The student, who is from a well-off family, had bought it over the darknet, paid off using bitcoins, and got the stuff delivered in the address of the other two. They then reached out to their potential clients through a dedicated Instagram account using coded language. With no mobile phone interactions or transactions that could be traced back to bank accounts, it is tough to crack such cases without specific tip-offs as received by the District Police Chief (Ernakulam Rural) in this case,” said Rural police sources.

Ordering drugs online and getting them delivered as couriers was already in vogue and the lockdown only seems to have accentuated it. LSD, a premium synthetic drug mainly associated with partying, has emerged as the most transacted in this manner, thanks to its compactness, measuring just about one-fourth the size of a folded normal stamp, and the lucrative price it attracts.

California 9, also known as three doted stamps, containing 360 micrograms of Lysergic acid on each stamp is the most sought after variant among LSD. Youngsters also get introduced to it from user groups who link them up to potential suppliers who on payment over mobile wallets deliver it hidden in couriers in books. The stuff will be stuck using adhesive tape to a certain page of the book that will be conveyed to the recipient over social media,” said an excise enforcement officer.

Parents’ complaint

Since after the lifting of the lockdown, a few parents complained to excise officials about their teenage wards receiving suspicious parcels following which the excise directed courier companies to be alert and report any suspicious and frequent delivery of parcels to youngsters.

“Often the parcels are not delivered at doorsteps but the delivery boy is contacted in advance and met along the way. The enforcement in such a highly tech-driven environment is tricky. We are planning to infiltrate the Darknet and sweep it in the guise of potential buyers,” said a senior excise official.

Though MDMA, another premium drug, is also suspected to be smuggled in in this fashion, enforcement officials feel that since it is more susceptible to detection, such deals may not be as widespread as LSD. Goa and Bengaluru are supposed to be the origins of such shady drug dealings.