Dark Web Drug Offences

Using the dark web is not illegal in itself, but buying or selling drugs or facilitating drug deals using the dark web is. If you have been arrested for or charged with a dark web drug offence, you need advice from lawyers who have specialist experience in this complex and technical area.

Our drug offence solicitors are experts in this area, and can assist with a wide range of drug offence investigations and prosecutions relating to the dark web as well as related criminal offences, including:

  • Possession of drugs bought on the dark web
  • Supplying drugs on the dark web
  • Importation of drugs and smuggling
  • Drug conspiracies
  • County lines matters

The dark web is often linked with alleged criminal activity – a place where people often go to access extreme or child pornography, buy and sell drugs and access other illegal products such as firearms anonymously. However, law enforcement have their methods for identifying suspects even if your IP address is hidden. It is not uncommon for dark web users to get caught up in criminal investigations no matter how many precautions they take.

We know exactly how to approach these cases and how to challenge the evidence involved. We are often able to help our clients avoid criminal charges altogether or to achieve a ‘not guilty’ verdict at trial.

Our drug offence solicitors can represent you at the police station, during criminal investigations and at court, providing practical advice and fierce defence strategy at every stage.

So, facing drug offence allegations after using the dark web? Get in touch with our expert darknet solicitors now for advice or immediate representation.

Call 01476 591711 for standard enquiries during office hours or ask us a question using our simple online enquiry form.

For 24/7 urgent and emergency support including police station representation call 07711 627048.

Types of dark web drug offences we can help with

Our specialist solicitors have years of experience representing clients in relation to a wide range of dark web related drug offences.

We can talk you through your options and advise you at every stage of the process.

If you have been arrested or invited to the police station for a voluntary interview under caution, we recommend that you do not speak to the police about any offence until a solicitor is there to advise you. Anything you say at this stage could be used as evidence against you.

Our expertise includes:

Possession of drugs

If you have been caught in physical possession of a drug purchased from the dark web, you may be charged with possession or possession with intent to supply (depending on the circumstances, such as quantity of drug).

We can assist with these types of cases, including where the police or prosecutor has obtained evidence from the dark web or that suggests you used the dark web to purchase Class A, Class B or Class C drugs.

Supply of drugs

Selling drugs over the dark web or selling drugs you bought from the dark web could result in a prosecution for a range of ‘supply offences’. We can advise on all types of supply offence, including:

Importation of drugs and smuggling

The dark web is commonly used to facilitate the importation of drugs into the UK from other countries. These crimes are often revealed when Border Force detects and seizes suspicious deliveries at the border and enforcement officers may use these to track down the sender and recipient.

See also – Fentanyl Importation and Smuggling.

Drug conspiracies

A drug conspiracy is where two or more people agree to commit a drugs offence, such as supplying drugs or importing drugs. We can assist if you have been accused of conspiring to commit a drugs offences, including:

County lines

We can assist with investigations and prosecutions arising from ‘county lines’ offences. County lines refers to the range of criminal offences associated with smuggling drugs across county borders, usually via children and vulnerable adults. Such offences include:

The dark web is often used to facilitate county lines offences, such as setting up drug deals, purchasing firearms, and grooming vulnerable people. We are familiar with the role dark web evidence can play in county lines offences and can provide practical advice.

Common questions about dark web drug offences

What is the dark web?

The dark web is a hidden and often encrypted part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines and can only be accessed via ‘anonymous’ web browsers such as Tor (The Onion Router) or small peer-to-peer networks.

Anonymous networks are said to conceal the user’s location and internet activity from anyone conducting network surveillance or web traffic analysis. So, the dark web has naturally become a place for people to conduct criminal activity, such as using ‘darknet markets’ to trade illicit goods, facilitating the importation of drugs or grooming young and vulnerable people into trafficking drugs. A famous example of a darknet market is Silk Road, a drugs marketplace that was shut down in 2013.

Is it illegal to access the dark web?

Although the dark web is used for criminal activity, there are also plenty of legitimate ways people use it. Accessing the dark web in itself if not illegal and you cannot be prosecuted for it. For example, some people use the dark web simply to protect their data from websites and advertisers.

However, if the dark web is used for criminal activity (such as hosting or accessing child pornography) or to facilitate criminal activity (such as arranging drug deals) then you can be prosecuted.

Is the dark web anonymous?

It is a common misconception that using the dark web means that you can never be identified. The methods these networks use to hide identities, such as relaying the user’s data through multiple servers, make it difficult but not impossible to trace the user or the web host involved. 

Authorities in the UK (such as the police, National Crime Agency and GCHQ) and across the globe have become increasingly aware of the growing risk of cybercrime and work internationally to tackle it, including policing the dark web. The UK government has invested billions over the years to tackle cybercrime, so the risks of using the dark web cannot be understated.

For example, in 2020, an international law enforcement operation called DisrupTor resulted in a coordinated raid on dark web marketplaces and the arrests of hundreds of individuals around the world.

How are dark web drug offences investigated?

The police and law enforcement agencies are understandably cautious about advertising how they investigate criminal offences involving the dark web. Their methods could include:

  • Tracing IP addresses – often not possible when encrypted networks are involved.
  • Gathering Open Source Intelligence (i.e. publicly available information) – this involves collecting crumbs of any available information online to unmask suspects, such as posts on public forums, blogs or social media. Enforcement officers count on the fact that, although people who deal drugs on the dark web take steps to conceal their identities, they must reveal some information to attract customers and facilitate deals. This is ultimately how the darknet market, Silk Road was taken down in 2013.
  • Seizing data – for example, when the German drug dealer, ‘Shiny Flakes’ was arrested, it was discovered that he kept a spreadsheet of orders that the police could use to track down his customers.
  • Examining Bitcoin transactions – blockchain evidence may be used to demonstrate large transactions relating to dark web drug deals.
  • Intercepting deliveries – although online activity can be well hidden using the dark web, ultimately, illegal goods such as drugs and firearms have to be physically delivered. If a delivery is intercepted by Border Force on its way in or out of the country, it gives law enforcement an opportunity to monitor where the delivery goes, investigate who posted the items or make arrests.
  • Going undercover on the dark web – police or other enforcement officers may pose as customers online or infiltrate forums to gather evidence.
  • Other tools and technology that are not widely available to the public.

Contact our dark web drug offence solicitors now

Facing drug offence allegations after using the dark web? Get in touch with our expert darknet solicitors now for advice or immediate representation.

Call 01476 591711 for standard enquiries during office hours or ask us a question using our simple online enquiry form.

For 24/7 urgent and emergency support including police station representation call 07711 627048.

 

If you need advice from an expert drugs conspiracy solicitor, come to Conspiracy Solicitors.