Russia’s Interior Ministry has taken down an online illicit drug market operating through the anonymous web surfing software Tor, the state-run TASS news agency reported Tuesday.
The so-called Russian Anonymous Marketplace (RAMP) was said to have operated since 2012 with an estimated 14,000 members. RAMP reportedly served as an online forum for buyers to connect with dealers. Transactions were then made outside the forum and deliveries made via “dead drops.”
In a response to a State Duma deputy’s letter, Deputy Interior Minister Mikhail Vanichkin said RAMP was taken down in July 2017, TASS quoted him as saying Tuesday.
Hidden behind the anonymity of the so-called “dark web” and eliminating personal interaction, the online drug trade has proven next to impossible to police in Russia.
Russia’s narcotics industry turns an estimated annual profit of 1.5 trillion rubles ($25.8 billion). One owner of an online drug business told The Moscow Times last summer that his small-scale operation in an industrial town made him around 600,000 rubles ($10,287) per month.