Drug trafficking is moving away to the darker corners of the Internet, an EU report has warned.
The study says there has been an increase in illegal substances snapped up online on the so-called ‘dark net’.
That’s part of the Internet that is not reachable through normal search engines or browsers.
Tracking down those involved is also more difficult.
Illicit substance sales now account for two-thirds of exchanges made on darknet
EU transactions amount to some eighty million euros, the study by Europol and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction found.
It said the biggest markets from 2011 to 2015, the latest data that was available, were Germany, the UK and the Netherlands.
“What we don’t know, or there is a little evidence to guide us, is what is the path of those big quantities of drugs sold and bought online,” said Teodora Groshkova, a scientific analyst who studies drug supply indicators. “Are they distributed online on those darknet markets or are they transferred and further distribution is conducted on the street?”
Officials from Europol, Europe’s top crime agency, say increased intelligence is the key if police across the continent are going to fight suppliers effectively.