As law enforcement doubles down on darknet markets and arrest vendors every day, they’re taking it to the next level now. Law enforcement has shifted some focus to Darknet Market buyers. Over the past year, hundreds of addresses that received orders from vendors have received letters from the police in their post boxes instead.
ERSOU Send Love Letters
According to the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), their Darkweb Intelligence, Collection and Exploitation (DICE) team has been hard at work. After sifting through addresses that received orders of recreational and counterfeit drugs, the team made the decision to take action against the buyers.
In the past few months, hundreds of letters were sent to hundreds of addresses. The letters served to warn recipients of the dangers of drugs, as well as that their activity constitutes a criminal offence. The letter also included information as to where the buyers could receive help.
The DICE team haven’t confirmed how they received the addresses, but it’s either that their packages were intercepted or a vendor was arrested, and he had a list of addresses included. The first mention on the clearnet of an ERSOU letter came from a user on Reddit about two months back. It’s likely that it’s a vendor who’s been arrested, as this is slightly different from the usual letters.
On Darknet Markets and Darknet Forums, this type of letter is referred to as a “Love Letter.” A letter of indication that either the package can not be sent as it contains suspicious items, along with details. The letters sent from the DICE team are much more tailored to show “We know you purchased this online” and stand as a warning.
As Detective Graham Paul explains:
It’s vital that people understand that the items for sale on the dark web are not safe. Many of them are illegal and dangerous, and the substances often aren’t even the item they’re advertised to be.
The implications of taking substances purchased from the dark web could be significant – ‘prescription’ medicine found online is often of poor quality and may not contain the ingredients normally found in legitimate medication, which clearly presents a very real health risk.Detective Inspector Graham Paul
UK Takes Dark Web Monitoring To The Next Level
The DICE team are working to fight darknet markets and the criminal activities they provide. In May 2023, a Darknet Market vendor from Huddersfield was captured after some LE Darknet monitoring, leading to his arrest.
“Barclay used 21st-century technology to run his large-scale drugs supply network. Ironically though, it was his attempts to stay hidden by using the dark web which brought him to our attention. The Regional Cyber Crime Unit works with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and local forces to target online criminality and bring to the surface methods of communication that those involved in the crime would rather stay hidden and anonymous.”
Alongside this darknet vendor, the ERSOU seized over £500,000 in illegal substances or materials over the last year and a half. All relating the Darknet vendors.
The DICE team confirmed that they have an active presence on the darknet and will continue to seek opportunities to capture criminals. They are happy to work with multiple government agencies and will fight against the use of darknet markets. They explained the dark web receives the same amount of monitoring as the clearnet, and that vendors, and buyers alike should be aware that they are looking for you.
“I would also add that the dark web is not as anonymous as people think and those that use it for illicit activity could find themselves part of one of our investigations.
Anyone considering using these marketplaces should think very carefully before doing so. If you need help with substance addiction, contact your GP or pharmacy, or visit support services online such as Talk to Frank.”Detective Inspector Graham Paul
The DICE team further indicated that their investigations were focusing specifically on prescription medicine, recreational drugs, and stupefying substances. They claimed that these are ‘date rape’ drugs, and that’s the reason for their heightened focus.
Either way, its clear that darknet monitoring from LE has advanced and is increasing daily. This serves as additional reasoning for OpSec to be in check at all stages.
Hey there, I’m a dark web geek who’s been around for the last 8 years. More precisely, I’m livedarknet’s senior content writer who’s been writing about darknet marketplaces, tutorials, and cybersecurity stuff for educational purposes.