How Deep Web Dealers Sell Drugs Online
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Disclaimer: If you found your way to this article because you set out to look for ‘how to sell drugs online’ then please be aware that the information provided here is not intended to serve as an instruction manual; it is an educational resource for people who are curious about the techniques and practices which deep web dealers use to sell drugs online. We also hope that people living in countries with oppressive governments may be able to gain some insight from studying the techniques and practices that have been shared by the deep web’s most prolific merchants about how to sell drugs online, in order to be able to safely sell e-books and other information which is usually unavailable to them due to political censorship. If you break the law, you risk being arrested, and Cryptorials makes no promises that using the techniques listed here will prevent that from happening.
TOR’s Dark Markets
Online drug dealers use ‘deep web’ or ‘dark net’ networks to conduct their business anonymously over the internet. These networks provide anonymous surfing to buyers and also allow more entrepreneurial types to create ‘hidden services’, which are very difficult or impossible to trace back to their owners, and which can only be viewed by other members of that anonymizing network. Over the last few years hidden services providing peer-to-peer marketplaces for users to buy and sell both legal and illegal stuff anonymously have gained a huge amount of infamy and popularity.
If you are completely new to using the deep web please take a look at our article on how to use the deep web for more beginner friendly details.
Currently the most popular deep web network by a significant margin is TOR. In the interest of keeping this article succinct and easy to follow I will therefore focus exclusively on TOR marketplaces.
Using TOR Safely
Although TOR provides a good level of anonymity for regular users ‘out of the box’, somebody who is planning to sell drugs or other illegal items over the internet is likely to be a bit more paranoid than most, and rightly so. Because of this they are likely to take extra security measures in an attempt to eliminate any chance of being caught.
The most obvious of these extra measures is to use a VPN in combination with TOR. The main advantage of this is that although an observer may not be able to tell which sites you are visiting or what you are doing when you use TOR, they will be able to tell that you are using TOR and may flag you as being a candidate for further investigation simply because you are a TOR user. Using a VPN will hide the fact that you are connecting to a TOR relay and may therefore reduce this risk. When doing this it is essential to choose a VPN which does not keep logs, however, otherwise authorities can demand that the VPN provider share these logs which will reveal exactly what you have been doing. One VPN provider which works well with Tor, doesn’t keep logs, and has a great service with fast server that don’t slow down your browsing is IPVanish.
Obviously you also need to make sure that you don’t share any information that can be traced back to you. Probably the most common mistake would be to register accounts with hidden services using your usual email. Users engaged in criminal activity must create a new anonymous email, refrain from using their real name (or any username which is connected to them elsewhere) and from discussing anything to do with their personal life – and always remember that law enforcement (often abbreviated to LE on these sites) do try to infiltrate these deep web marketplaces and may try to establish relationships with their users in order to gain information about them.
Using the TAILS operating system rather than the standard TOR browser bundle may also offer some additional protection against your computer being hacked by LE or other deep web users. You can run TAILS from a USB or SD card so you don’t need to wipe your regular operating system to do this.
Using Bitcoin Safely
Most ‘dark markets’ use Bitcoin exclusively for payments. Bitcoin offers a greater level of privacy than other payment methods, but users who need the best possible level of anonymity must take a few simple extra measures to ensure that their activities cannot be traced back to them. The main issue surrounds selling your Bitcoins anonymously. You can use the bitcoin network without revealing your identity, but if somebody transfers their coins to an exchange which requires ID verification then they are taking a big risk that they will be traced. Please read our article on Using Bitcoin Anonymously for more information about this.
Some marketplaces also allow for the use of alternative cryptocurrencies which have some of these extra measures already built-in, such as DASH, but at the time of writing this is not common practice.
Reputation, Escrow & Multi-Signature Transactions
When somebody wants to sell drugs over the internet the main problem is convincing potential buyers that they can trust you. If no measures were in place to help with this then it would obviously be far too easy for ‘vendors’ to simply take people’s money and never bother to send them the product.
Reputation is therefore very important to the users of these marketplaces. New vendors will often find that it takes time to build a reputation, and with it the number of customers which they have. But of course everybody starts off with zero reputation, so other measures are needed to offer buyers protection from scammers and give new vendors a chance to prove themselves. Two different methods are used for doing this: central escrow and multi-sig escrow.
The most common method is a central escrow system run by the admin of the marketplace. In this system the buyer transfers the coins needed to make a purchase to the site admin, The seller is notified that a payment has been made and is being held in escrow, and they then send out the product. When the buyer receives this product they instruct the site admin to release the payment to the seller. If the buyer does not receive the product they can raise a dispute and request a refund, and the site admin must make a decision (based on the history of both parties on the site) who they believe. This escrow will have a time limit set, so if the buyer doesn’t bother to either release the coins or raise a dispute then the coins are automatically sent to the vendor after a set number of days.
This system does create a risk for the seller. This is the risk that scammers will make a purchase, receive the product, but then pretend that they haven’t received it in an attempt to get their money back and effectively get the product for free. In order to protect vendors many dark markets use a system in which established sellers who have built up a good reputation can require buyers to ‘finalize early’ (FE). This means that the seller gets the payment straight away, but they can only do this once they have proven themselves trustworthy by getting positive feedback from buyers.
A second risk associated with this type of escrow is that the site admin may disappear with all of the coins they are holding. This may be a deliberate theft or due to law enforcement actions. One way to reduce this risk is to use an advanced feature built into Bitcoin called ‘multi-sig’ transactions, as an alternative to standard escrow services. To learn more about what multi-sig is an how it is used on deep web marketplaces please take a look at our article on how to use bitcoin’s multi-sig functionality.
Using PGP for Encrypted Communications
Most dark market sites require vendors to use PGP, which stands for ‘pretty good privacy’, for communicating sensitive information. This is used primarily for encrypting private messages so that other people cannot intercept and read them. This is essential for taking shipping address information from buyers who want to make sure that no prying third party can access this information and use it to establish their real identity. It can also be used sign messages to prove your identity (even the fake identity of a deep web vendor’s username) and can therefore be used by vendors who establish a reputation on one site to prove that they are the same person when expanding their operations into new markets.
Vendors will usually be required to put their public PGP key into their profile. Buyers can then use this to send messages which only that vendor can read.
Shipping & Packaging
Packaging and shipping is a crucial part of the process for successfully selling drugs on the deep web without getting caught. Packages are sent through the regular mail system, so this is obviously a big risk. In order to increase trust some deep web vendors have even been known to offer parcel tracking through companies like FedEx, but these things can be their undoing as I have heard cases in which vendors have been tracked as they log in to these services and arrested as a result.
Dealers must ensure that they do not leave fingerprints on the packaging or even strands of hair or eyelashes within it, as it is common for LE agents to join these sites and totally possible that they could order a vendor’s products to search for clues as to their identity. Packing these products can be something of an art form, as it is necessary to ensure that no smells escape from the package, but also that it does not look suspicious – a parcel wrapped in five layers of duct tape may prevent any odours from escaping, but may also provoke additional inspections from vigilant staff. There are many different approaches to solving this issue, such as placing the item within the packaging of another product, or sealing it in an airtight container before wrapping or boxing it. Probably the only way to really find out how this is done is to create a buyer account on one of these marketplaces and enquire about making a purchase – if you are wondering how that works you can take a look at how to buy things from the deep web for more information and to get invite codes for buyer accounts.
Vendors must also understand the different rules for international and national mail if they are going to offer international shipping, as some countries may require a return address for international mail and may be more likely to give it a more thorough inspection. An interesting discussion of shipping rules in the US & Canada can be found here.
Because vendors take payment in Bitcoin they may use services such as ShipCoin, which allows them to purchase shipping labels using Bitcoin. This may also have another advantage, because I have heard it said that printed labels which make the parcel look like it is being sent from a legitimate business are less likely to attract suspicion than a hand written label.
Assuming that you already have TOR up and running on your computer the first step is to select a marketplace to use and create account. You may need an invite code from a current user in order to be able to register on some of these sites. Here is a selection of some marketplaces which I recommend taking a look at, with invite codes in the link ( you need to actually click the link not just copy the text) where relevant, so that you can sign up and take a look around. You will need to be using the TOR browser to click these links.
I’ve found this site to be very fast, reliable and easy to use. It is well established and has a lot of users who purchase recreational as well as generic prescription drugs. In order to register as a vendor new merchants need to pay a bond of 0.75 BTC, which is returned to them once they have made enough sales.
Registration Link: lchudifyeqm4ldjj.onion
This is another well established market which offers a multi-sig escrow option and includes a wider range of different product categories than Abraxas, including stolen data, hacked accounts, drugs, weapons and more. In order to register a vendor account you need to pay a $100 bond, which is returned to you if you ever close your account, as long as it is in good standing.
Main Link: pwoah7foa6au2pul.onion
One of the longest running sites, and hence perhaps one of the safer options (although there is of course a risk with all of these sites, is Valhalla. Its invite only, so you will need to use the special link provided below or you can’t get in. They have a huge range of drugs including prescription / pharmacy medication for conditions like ADHD (Ritalin, Adderall etc), painkillers, anti-depressants, Viagra and other items. Vendor’s with a proven track record on other sites do not need to pay the vendor’s bond.
NB: You may also like to check out our article on OpenBazaar for sellers. Open Bazaar is standalone piece of software which lets you join a decentralized market. It is presented as more of an ebay alternative rather than a traditional deep web shopping site, and is not fully anonymous by default – your IP address may be exposed. But it can be used anonymously with software like TOR if you know what you are doing and some people consider it a safer alternative to the onion sites mentioned above because there is no central site operator who can run off with everyone’s money or central servers which authorities can take control of to get people’s details.
Knowledge is Power
There is no way that I could cover every relevant topic within this article, especially since in a business like this things are constantly changing as new technology is developed and new law enforcement techniques become known. So to help make up for the deficiencies in this article here is a collection of other interesting articles, online communities and useful resources which internet drug dealers use to keep up to date with the latest intel on how to sell drugs online.
“It’s important to have good time management skills, accounting skills, as well as customer service skills. Being a vendor online is just like owning or managing a business—the only difference being that the government decided that what we do is illegal.”
“He purchased bags of heroin from a street-level dealer, who sold it to him for $3 apiece or $349 for each 50-bag “brick,” and sold it with a 100 percent mark-up to customers who paid through bitcoin, the electronic currency required by Silk Road.”
“There is a market for people who are willing to go to dangerous neighborhoods to buy or sell drugs, risking law enforcement or violence,” she said in the interview. “But there is a much, much larger market for buyers and sellers who are less willing to take those risks but will open their wallets without concern from the comfort of their home.”
- DarkNet Markets on Reddit – This is a popular community board on Reddit for DarkNet market users. You will find lots of links to useful information here, and you can also use it to ask any questions you might have and get guidance from experienced buyers and sellers.
- DeepDotWeb – This site covers anything and everything related to the deep web by expert writers who really seem to know their stuff.
- DarkWebNews – If you want to keep up to date with the latest developments then this is a great news blog you really should be reading.
- DNStats – Darknet markets often go offline, sometimes permanently but often temporarily; if you want to check which sites have the best uptime, which are down right now (so you know if its just you that can’t access a site or if its actually down) as well as getting lots of other info about the top markets then this is the place to go.
- Grams Search (.onion link: only visible using TOR) – This is an excellent services which lets you search all of the products on sale at all of the top darknet markets at the same time, so you can see what kind of drugs or other products dealers are selling over the internet right now and how much they are charging for their product.