In Bengaluru, India, police officers reported a 100 percent increase in the number of narcotic-related arrests during 2016, compared to the arrest numbers from 2015. In 2016, officers arrested 289 individuals, both buyers and sellers. In stark contrast, officers only busted 141 people in 2015. The type of drug remained the same—from marijuana to LSD.

Police attributed the increase to the growing need for illegal narcotics, as well as the ease of access. They said that an increased market for party drugs developed for several reasons. (Note: the report classified LSD as a party drug, potentially skewing figures). Many dealers or “peddlers” sold through social networks and, similarly, more people of the partying age started using social networks. “Bengaluru is infamous for LSD blots. This year, five Indians were arrested for dealing with party drugs. Most of the business is done through the darknet or social networking sites,” an officer explained. “The drugs are smuggled into the city by road from Mumbai, Goa, and Mangaluru,” he added.

Darknet use is at an all-time high for much of the world. The exposure darknet markets received throughout 2016 majorly contributed to the influx of users. Additionally, with the added exposure of darknet marketplaces came an increase in “how-to” guides. Isolated individuals gained a new illegal substance market. Thus, more than merely an increase in buyers occurred; a new demographic began using the darknet to purchase drugs.

The change hit the inner city as well—or to an even greater degree than the outskirts. Previously, the inner city avoided focus from law enforcement officers regarding drug related crimes. In 2016, the more densely populated areas proved a difficult task for the authorities. “Earlier, we used to raid places on the outskirts, but now we have turned our focus to the heart of the city,” said a senior officer.

Police reported seizing nearly 269 kilograms of illegal drugs in 2016. Opium, heroin, cocaine, ketamine, and ephedrine made the top five list, according to The Hindu. Authorities additionally released figures on the demographic data pertaining to the 2016’s arrests—the piece of information that stood out was the decrease in foreigner arrests. Some foreigners sold drugs in India and subsequently became a statistic for 2016 arrests. “Some of the foreigners, who deal in drugs, come into the State on business and student visas,” an officer said. However, Indians accounted for the majority of the narcotic-related arrests in 2016.

An officer said the majority of the drugs came from crime syndicates, such as the three that Indian law enforcement knew existed. “They live and store the narcotics on the outskirts. They sold in the heart of the city, in places like M.G. Road and Indira Nagar,” added the officer.

“For the first time, we have detected drug traffickers using the darknet and Bitcoin for running the illegal drug racket in India. I can tell you that our investigations have shown that some of these operatives live in the country. We are probing them,” RR Bhatnagar said in early 2016.

An officer ended the interview with an announcement regarding the informants. “We have roped in teenagers to source information about drug dealings in educational institutions,” he said.

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