Operation Onymous And Tangible Effects: Displacement In The Dark Net Drug Markets
Décary-Hétu, David & Luca Giommoni
Conference of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy, Ghent, Belgium
On November 5th and 6th 2014, law enforcement agencies from the United States and Europe launched Operation Onymous, a large police operation that targeted online marketplaces that specialized in the sale of illicit drugs. Known as cryptomarkets, these online marketplaces offered tens of thousands of products. Operation Onymous was a major operation that led to 17 arrests of cryptomarket vendors and administrators, the seizure of over $1 million USD and the shutting down of many markets including one of the three biggest markets at the time, Silk Road 2. The two other major markets, Evolution and Agora, survived the operation and were not seized by the police. While the direct consequences of the police operation can be easily measured, we have yet to model and understand the indirect consequences of police operations on cryptomarkets – and on online illicit markets in general. These indirect consequences may include a higher fear of arrest for vendors and customers and more importantly changes in the pricing of illicit drugs as well as the displacement of vendors who were active in one of the seized marketplace. This presentation will draw from the literature on crime displacement and risks and prices in drug markets to model the impact that Operation Onymous had on the thousands of illicit drug vendors who were active on cryptomarkets at the time of the police operation. To do so, weekly scrapes of Silk Road 2, Evolution and Agora will be used to model the activity on these markets before and after the police operation. Of particular interest to us will be the displacement of vendors from one market to the other as well as changes in the prices of illicit drugs on cryptomarkets.
This content has been updated on 8 August 2016 at 17 h 54 min.