Sunday, January 29, 2023

Indian Police Bust Bitcoin-Based Drug Ring Following Calls for Regulation

Indian Police Bust Bitcoin-Based Drug Ring Following Calls for Regulation

The Delhi Police exposed a drug trafficking ring that supplied drugs to rave parties in the National Capital Region of India. The ring purchased these drugs online with bitcoin, and then distributed them throughout the parties, landing in the hands of underage attendees, according to reports.

Also read: Bitcoin Is the 32nd Most Used Currency in the World

The police have asked the country’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to look into the online drug trade after arresting two men allegedly responsible for obtaining and distributing the illicit substances — Kamal Kalra and Mahesh Goyal.

Kalra is a resident of Rohini and is a DJ by profession. Authorities have not said much about Goyal, other than he resided in Dwarka at the time of his arrest and only communicated with Kalra over the phone.

The drugs allegedly circulated by the two men include LSD, MDA, Amphetamine, MDMA, Methamphetamine, and Ketamine.

India Drug Trade
Kamal Kalra and Mahesh Goyal arrested for allegedly using bitcoin to buy drugs online, and then distributing them to parties in Delhi

According to Daily News and Analysis, Delhi police made the arrests after receiving a tip from the Crime Branch’s Narcotics Department. The tip lead to Kalra’s arrest, during which police seized 100 Ecstacy pills from his possession.

During interrogation, Kalra told police he received the drugs from Goyal. Police then arrested Goyal, recovering over 20 grams of raw MDMA.

Drugs on the Dark Web

Alok Kumar, Join Commissioner of Police in Dheli, told press:

“Interrogation revealed there are sites on Deep Net where these drugs are available. Further, the payment is being received in the form of ‘Bitcoins’ – a worldwide currency system.”

Nothing most people plugged into the Internet didn’t already know.

The dark net drug trade arose in 2011 when Ross Ulbricht founded the Silk Road marketplace. By the time of Ulbricht’s arrest in 2013, the cryptocurrency-based drug industry had exploded, with several new marketplaces stepping up to take Silk Road’s place.

India’s Crusade Against Bitcoin

The takedown of this Delhi drug operation comes amid debates within the Indian government over how to handle Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Bitsonline recently reported on guidance issued from a government panel in India, which suggested that the Indian government shut down cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country.

If lawmakers follow this advice, India could follow suit with China, which caused an uproar in September when it issued a ban on ICOs and shut down several major cryptocurrency exchanges.

However, some of India’s influential Bitcoin community members have suggested that a smarter move may be a more narrow policy of banning cryptocurrency trades done in cash — like those made on peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins.

At any rate, Bitcoin veterans argue the digital currency plays a very small role in the global drug trade, and has possibly even made drug markets safer.

And even if India, or any other government, bans bitcoin in an attempt to curb drug activity, say cryptocurrency advocates, it will do nothing to stop the number one facilitator of drug trades: fiat cash.

Will banning bitcoin in India do anything to stop illegal drugs in the country? Share your thoughts below. 

Images via TheLipTV/YouTube, Suryaa

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