Alarmed by the increase in cases where sailors and Marines purchased illegal drugs online, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) has issued a warning about the dangers of such activity.
Recent investigations in the past year have shown that LSD was commonly sought and purchased, often using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin in dark web channels – anonymized peer to peer networks that use the Internet but are not necessarily “on” it. (The Navy stopped testing for LSD in 2006.)
Though the NCIS and other military and federal law enforcement agencies have worked to shut down these sites, the agency said new ones sprout up to replace them almost immediately after their discovery.
The NCIS noted that such drugs – even if they are the substance advertised and not counterfeit or worse – frequently are laced with dangerous substances that can seriously injure or kill users.
While networks such as the TOR onion-router offer a degree of anonymity by obscuring IP addresses, law enforcement use various investigative techniques to identify both purchasers and sellers. Additionally, many cryptocurrency transactions are traceable, NCIS noted.
The agency is encouraging anyone with information about sailors, Marines or other Navy Department personnel who may be buying or selling illicit drugs on the internet to come forward with anonymous tips via the NCIS tips app, or at www.ncis.navy.mil.