Interpol Alarmed by Rising Sales of Illegal Drugs over Net

MARRAKECH, Morocco ~ Drug traffickers are increasingly using the internet to sell illegal narcotics ranging from ecstasy to heroin to consumers around the world, a senior Interpol official said on Wednesday.

“There is a risk of massive distribution. It is quite easy to purchase drugs on the internet,” Interpol’s subdirector for the fight against organized crime and drugs, Emmanuel Leclaire, told a news conference in Marrakech.

“This is a form of trafficking that will grow enormously in the coming years because the number of internet users does not stop rising,” he added at the global police body’s annual general assembly.

Operating through websites or chat rooms, the traffickers accept money transfers, or in some cases even credit card payments, for the narcotics, which are then sent by mail to the buyers.

One recently detected site based in China offered heroin along with counterfeit jeans, said Leclaire.

“For consumers this can change their habits, instead of meeting their trafficker where they live they can basically click on the internet,” he said, adding that the internet was “a great tool” for drug traffickers.

Interpol has started to train police from its 186 member states on how to best deal with the problem, Leclaire said.

Training sessions carried out by officers with extensive knowledge of the drugs trade and the internet have already been held in Cyprus and Singapore, with two more scheduled for Argentina and South Africa, he added.

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