Czech traffickers arrange drug deals at internet cafes. Australians use courier companies' Web sites to track packages of pills. American dealers swap recipes for amphetamines in restricted-access chat rooms. Worldwide, drug traffickers increasingly are taking advantage of encrypted e-mail and other Internet technology to sell their stashes, launder money and trade tips and techniques, the International Narcotics Control Board warned recently in a report.
Because the usage of Internet doubles every six months and 700 million people were onlining at the end of last year, greater vigilance and international cooperation are needed "to prevent the Internet from turning into a worldwide web of drug trafficking," said Hamid Ghodse, the INCB's president.
In the United States, Internet swapping of techniques for manufacturing amphetamine sin underground laboratories has become so widespread, they're now being made by people who are not college-educated chemists - often resulting in injury-causing explosions and fires. "In the past, drug recipes were closely guarded secrets, but with modern computer technology and chemists' increasing willingness to share their knowledge, this information is now available to anyone with computer access," the report said.