Drug trafficking

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

With drug trafficking (originally the name of the trade in medicinal drugs and spices) is now mostly the purchase and sale of illicit drugs (eg. As heroin , cocaine , opium , hashish ) without permission meant the competent authorities. Drug trafficking in this sense is considered a sub-area of drug crime .

Drug dealers of this kind are internationally known as Dealer ( English for traders ) or Pusher referred.

Legal position

Drug trafficking is controlled internationally through the ratification of three UN conventions on psychotropic substances , and the illegal part is massively fought with repressive means of criminal law and with military means . Despite the massive worldwide persecution of the people involved, the turnover of illegally sold drugs is currently estimated at around 500 billion US dollars annually. Because of the conspiratorial nature of this branch of industry, as with all other control crimes, no reliable information is possible. However, inflation in the calculation of sales is to be regarded as certain, since contrary to the economically viable shortening of the trade chain between the producer and the trusted dealer, more intermediate stations are necessary to overcome prohibition.

In Germany, illegal drug trafficking is a criminal offense according to Sections 29 ff. Of the Narcotics Act (BtMG). The threat of punishment is usually imprisonment for up to five years or a fine . In certain serious cases there is even a minimum penalty of one, two or five years; the maximum penalty is then theoretically open up to 15 years.

Organised crime

Drug trafficking pyramid

Extremely high profits are made in drug trafficking. Organized crime usually takes over the illegal drug trafficking . The prohibition of drugs ( prohibition ) usually leads to the monopoly of a black market by criminal gangs and to the establishment of mafia- like structures that specialize in controlling the sales market for illegal substances and form real drug cartels .

Drug trafficking is almost always closely linked to corruption and money laundering . In addition - as became clear in the Iran-Contra affair - there are also links with the arms trade and secret services .

In the USA, the Pizza Connection became particularly well known in the 1970s , in which the American Cosa Nostra left the heroin trade to the original Sicilian Mafia ( Cosa Nostra ).

Especially in South America there are currently regular gang wars between criminal groups, individuals and state authorities. In Colombia , among other things, the Medellín cartel operated , which sold its drugs in the United States . Fabio Ochoa , Griselda Blanco , Pablo Escobar , Carlos Lehder Rivas , George Jung etc. achieved international fame.

In Germany in particular, the XY gang became known through illegal drug trafficking.

According to a study by the Abba Eban Institute, as part of a collaboration with the Janus Initiative, Hezbollah has created its own worldwide network for drug smuggling and money laundering that is similar to that of a mafia. The investigation focused on Hezbollah's links to organized crime. As a result, various so-called Arab clans support Hezbollah's activities in Germany. The Abba Eban Institute found that members of three Shiite families, the Chahrour, Berjawi and Balhas families, who live in Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia, are deeply involved in Hezbollah's drug and money laundering business.

Drug trafficking and politics

Opium Wars

Great Britain began a military conflict with the Chinese Empire of the Qing Dynasty from 1839 to 1842. As a result of this First Opium War , China was forced to open its markets and, in particular, to tolerate the opium trade .

In the Second Opium War (1856-1860), in which Great Britain was supported by France , this legalization of the opium trade was solidified.

Official policy

For example, US American policy has always been officially directed against the manufacture, trade and use of illegal drugs. In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act created an extensive legal framework that became an instrument for law enforcement agencies to combat drug-related crime . In particular, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was founded on this basis in 1973 ; a special law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Justice .

US President Richard Nixon coined the term " War on Drugs " in 1972, based on the "War on Poverty" policy introduced by Lyndon B. Johnson (on: "War against Poverty"). Since 1988, the actions of the various organizations, ministries and authorities involved have been coordinated and monitored by the newly established “Office of National Drug Control Policy”.

Secret services

Unofficially, drug trafficking proceeds were often used to arm paramilitary groups or armies. The best known examples of this practice are the actions of France in the Indochina War (see GCMA ) and later the US in the Vietnam War . Allied armies were financed by bringing heroin produced by them to the world market with the help of secret services. The conspiratorial airline Air America, operated by the CIA , played a major role .

The American history professor Alfred W. McCoy detailed these processes in his book “The Politics of Heroin. CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade ”. Before the book was published in 1972, the CIA tried to influence the manuscript by printing it on McCoy's publisher Harper & Row. Well-known investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published an article about this censorship attempt in the Washington Post , after which McCoy became known nationwide overnight. He testified to several US congressional committees about his research that his book, which has been revised several times and expanded to include current events, is now considered a standard work.

The investigative journalist Gary Webb published his series of articles Dark Alliance in 1996 , in which he documented the smuggling of cocaine by Nicaraguan Contra rebels into the US, who used the proceeds to finance their Contra war against the Sandinista . The alleged toleration and complicity of the CIA led to a scandal in the USA. Webb relied in part on the results of a commission of inquiry under Senator John Kerry in 1986. Two internal investigations by the CIA later supported his allegations.

In 2001, the American professor Christopher Simpson reported on the drug trafficking activities of the CIA Directorate of Operations (renamed National Clandestine Service in 2005 ):

"The CIA's Directorate of Operations - in other words, covert operations , paramilitary operations, or" dirty tricks "whatever you want to call it - has documented a significant portion of their work through the CIA over a period of at least 40 years Paid sales of heroin and cocaine. It happened in Vietnam and Afghanistan, and it happened in South America and the Iran-Contra affair. […] Drug money has been an integral part of the CIA's covert operations, and has been practically since the agency began. "

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry said in 1987 during the Senate hearings on the Iran-Contra affair , on the subject of drug smuggling by the Contra rebels into the United States tolerated by the CIA :

“Our country became an accomplice in the drug trade at the same time as we were spending tons of dollars trying to get a grip on drug-related problems - it's just amazing. [...] I don't know if we have the worst intelligence system in the world; I don't know if we have the best, and they knew everything and just looked the other way - but no matter how you look at it, something is going wrong, something is really going wrong out there. "

Drug trafficking on the internet

The online trade of illegal drugs as a new and increasingly widespread phenomenon mainly uses the darknet markets , virtual wholesale locations for primarily illegal goods on the darknet . In addition, there are retailer shops that are or were in part also present in the Clearnet (open Internet), such as Chemical Love, which was opened in 2016 . Transactions are carried out in cryptocurrency (mostly Bitcoin ); the goods are dispatched by traditional post. Most marketplaces have a rating system with which customers can rate products and dealers based on satisfaction and leave reviews.

The Federal Criminal Police Office stated that the conventional structures of drug trafficking would be expanded to include the anonymization options of the Darknet and that this medium would open up new distribution channels. According to the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office, the number of trading platforms tripled between 2013 and the beginning of 2016. At that time, three to four of the platforms would probably reach at least the trading volume of the industry pioneer Silk Road , which was shut down in 2013 (the equivalent of 1.2 billion US dollars, of which 14 million US dollars in Germany). A third of all Bavarian drug offenses are committed online. Previous investigations would only have resulted if the seller made a mistake, such as B. Addressing parcels incorrectly, according to the Bavarian LKA (as of April 2016).

As of May 2016, AlphaBay was the largest active darknet market. It worked in a similar way to the online trading platform eBay , which, as a third party, connects buyers and sellers.


In June 2011, the “ Gawker ” blog reported on the Silk Road underground market, which started in February . By the time it is shut down by a coordinated action by international law enforcement authorities (" Operation Onymous ") in July 2013, around 4,000 dealers and 150,000 buyers are said to have turned over the equivalent of 1.2 billion US dollars. While Silk Road was still designed in a simple 90s design, newer trading platforms such as AlphaBay or Nucleus appear in a professional look comparable to large legal online marketplaces .

Soon after emergence of the markets and traders Shops operators were part escrow services ( trust management offered through a third party). After escrow providers (often the markets themselves) had fraudulently made use of the managed money in repeated cases, sometimes as part of exit scams , the multi-signature process was increasingly introduced. The payment of amounts held requires the consent of at least two contractual partners.

With the help of the search engine Grams , users on the Darknet can compare prices and reliability of retailers across marketplaces.

Known cases

  • Douppikauppa from Finland has been Scandinavia's most successful online dealer since 2013. He claims to be an academic, born in 1986, who has a legal job and who first came into contact with drugs in adulthood. Since drugs like LSD are hard to come by in Scandinavia, he ordered large quantities from abroad to sell them in smaller margins on darknet marketplaces.
  • As part of a global operation, four retail shops were taken offline by German investigators in 2014. The investigators of the Hessian State Criminal Police Office in Wiesbaden had secured the five associated servers. The alleged operator of the Hydra portal was arrested by German investigators in Hungary.
  • Under the pseudonym Oxywhite , a dealer on the Clearnet and Darknet sold prescription drugs and substances that can also be consumed as drugs: painkillers and sexual enhancers , as well as ketamine and nootropics ("brain doping agents"). In December 2015, the dealer became inactive, which coincided with the arrest of a 29-year-old care worker from Bonn.
  • The Shiny Flakes shop was seized in 2015. In the spring of that year a man from Leipzig was arrested; the investigation had taken about a year. 320 kilograms of various drugs with a market value of more than four million euros were confiscated. Shiny Flakes is said to have processed more than 13,000 orders in total; the substances were obtained from the Netherlands, according to the police.
  • In 2016, one of the largest retail shops in Europe, Chemical Love , was excavated. From April of that year, five men were arrested in Rülzheim, Weissach and Stuttgart. One of the shop owners told the online magazine VICE that 250,000 euros had been turned over per month. The site was available on both the clearnet and the darknet.
  • In 2019, chemical-revolution.to, the largest online drug dealer from Germany at the time, was identified and transferred.

Legal drug trafficking

1973 still legal hashish business in Kathmandu (Nepal)

Most legally controlled drugs are available through pharmaceutical catalogs and only through pharmacies ; For example, a doctor can prescribe drugs from the group of narcotics in certain doses for pain patients or methadone for drug addicts.

A form for a medical prescription for alcohol in the USA ("Medicinal Alcohol form")

During Prohibition in the United States in 1919–1933, wealthy individuals continued to be able to obtain alcohol legally on a medical prescription.

In the Netherlands , following a recommendation from a commission in 1976, the government was advised to redefine the police's priorities in order to relieve them. With the reform of the Opium Act , the handling of soft drugs was redefined in the Netherlands; waives criminal prosecution under certain conditions. It came on the establishment tolerated outlets so-called "soft drugs" in the Netherlands , known as coffee shops were known.

The Cannabis Social Club is a model project proposed by the pan-European organization ENCOD in 2005 to explore the legal cultivation and distribution of cannabis to adults.

See also


  • Bernd Werse (ed.): Drug markets. Structures and scenes of retail trade. Campus, Frankfurt a. M. 2008, ISBN 9783593386355
  • Bettina Paul , Henning Schmidt-Semisch (eds.): Drug dealers. Views of a disreputable business. Lambertus, Freiburg 1998
  • Alfred W. McCoy: The CIA and Heroin. World politics through drug trafficking. Zweiausendeins, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3861506084 (OT: The Politics of Heroin , Lawrence Hill Books, 2nd edition 2003, ISBN 978-1-55652-483-7 )
  • Alfred W. McCoy, Alan A. Block (Eds.): War on Drugs: Studies in the Failure of US Narcotics Policy . Westview Pr, 1992

Web links

 Wikinews: Drug Trafficking  - In The News
Wiktionary: Drug trafficking  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. The drug dealer was a magazine for pharmacists from the beginning to the middle of the 20th century. See also drugstore .
  2. Sections 29 et seq. Of the Drugs Act
  3. Al-Kuds March in Berlin The Clans, Hezbollah and the Dirty Businesses , Berliner Zeitung, June 1, 2019
  4. ^ Profile of Christopher Simpson , American University , Washington DC
  5. ^ Crack the CIA. Short documentary on CIA drug activities from guerillanewsnetwork.com, 2001, quoted at 1:06 min.
  6. ^ Crack the CIA. Short documentary about CIA drug activities from guerillanewsnetwork.com, 2001, quoted at 8:20 min.
  7. ^ Crack the CIA. Short documentary about CIA drug activities from guerillanewsnetwork.com, 2001, at 3:00 min.
  8. ^ Crack the CIA. Short documentary about CIA drug activities from guerillanewsnetwork.com, 2001, at 4:47 min.
  9. ^ The internet and drug markets - EMCDDA research report (English).
  10. "Chemical Love": Investigators smash large drug webshop. In: Spiegel Online . Retrieved May 2, 2016 .
  11. ^ Illicit e-commerce: The Amazons of the dark net . In: The Economist
  12. Tom Ough: 'It's a self-regulating free market': how the dark web Brought consumerism to drugs. In: The Telegraph .
  13. BKA press releases. (No longer available online.) In: bka.de. Archived from the original on June 1, 2016 ; accessed on May 2, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.bka.de
  14. More drugs on the Internet - every third drug offense is committed on the Internet. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . Retrieved May 11, 2016 .
  15. Jeff Stone: Agora Shuts Down: Dark Net's Most Popular Drug Site To Update Security As Users Scramble For Bitcoin . In: International Business Times
  16. Elliot Maras: Two Years After Silk Road's Fall, Darknet Drug Markets Thrive. In: CryptoCoinsNews. (English).
  17. Darknet: A good deal. In: brandeins.de. Retrieved May 9, 2016 .
  18. Kevin Goodman: The Dark Net: The New Face of Black Markets and Organized Crime. In: Huffington Post . (English).
  19. John Villasenor: Could 'Multisig' Help Bring Consumer Protection To Bitcoin Transactions? In: Forbes . (English).
  20. Thomas Kerin: The Year of Multisig: How is it Doing So Far? In: CoinDesk. (English).
  21. Darknet: A good deal. In: brandeins.de. Retrieved May 9, 2016 .
  22. Drugs in the Darknet: Police track down illegal online shops in Hessen. In: Spiegel Online . Retrieved May 3, 2016 .
  23. The Oxywhite File. In: Motherboard. Retrieved May 9, 2016 .
  24. 360 kilograms of drugs discovered in Leipzig: drug shop in the children's room. In: Mitteldeutsche Zeitung . Retrieved May 2, 2016 .
  25. ^ Cybercriminal group "Chemical Love": Police smash largest German drug webshop. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung . Retrieved May 2, 2016 .
  26. The End of Chemical Love: Police take action against Europe's largest drug shipping company. In: Motherboard. Retrieved May 3, 2016 .
  27. Michael Wulzinger, Christoph Winterbach, Nicola Naber, Rafael Buschmann, DER SPIEGEL: Germany's largest online drug shop unearthed: "Cops" - "Have me" - "Fuck no shit" - DER SPIEGEL - Panorama. Retrieved April 25, 2020 .