The Russian contextual advertising network Yandex Direct is advertising online drug stores.
The advertised sites are disguised as pharmacies and recruiting agencies. On sites advertised by Yandex, they offer to participate in the drug business as drug couriers.
The interested person contacts the manager, i.e. a representative of an online drug store, where he is explained in detail the conditions of work in the drug business.
Conditions are offered different. In some cases, the applicant is required to present a passport and make a cash deposit of 25-30,000 rubles (~$367) for the first batch of goods.
One “manager” of a drug shop admitted that their organization spends 150,000 rubles ($1,968) per month on advertising in Yandex Direct.
And it must be assumed that the costs pay off.
In other cases, it is proposed to take away the “master treasure” without bail and deliver doses of drugs to designated points.
The cost of one delivery is from 500 ($7) to 1300 ($17) rubles. There can be from 5 or more ‘deliveries’ per day.
Thus, a drug courier can earn up to 400,000 ($5,250) rubles a month.
In the spring of 2022, the German authorities stopped the activities of the Hydra drug trafficking network. The servers of the online store in .onion were arrested, funds in the amount of 543 bitcoins were seized in the amount of 23 million euros.Following this, the alleged administrator of the Hydra online store, someone Dmitry Pavlov, was arrested in Moscow. However, the network for the sale of drugs has not disappeared. The drug dealers have created their own online drug stores and are actively developing them.
However, there is a possibility that the owners of the drug shop will hand over the drug courier to the police. It’s no secret that the drug business in Russia is covered by law enforcement agencies.
Sometimes, when the police need to show that the clearance rate for drug-related crimes is rising, the police turn to representatives of the drug business to point out couriers who can be caught red-handed.
And then the drug courier is sent to prison under Article 228 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, the police receive bonuses for solving the crime, and the drug shop continues to exist.
In recent years, the practice of selling drugs through online stores has been widespread in Russia and the countries of the former USSR. The sales platform can be organized through the TOR network, through the Telegram messenger, or even through complaints-resistant hosting on an international or regional domain. The buyer is offered to pay for the goods in exchange for indicating the location of the “treasure” – a cache of drugs. Caches are laid by ‘cladmen’ – ordinary drug couriers. Drug couriers also receive goods in the same way through caches. The drug business network in Russia is built in such a way that, having lost one link in the supply chain, it does not collapse, but continues its illegal business.
It must be assumed that disguising drug stores as recruiting agencies is working. The Yandex Direct contextual advertising network does not notice drug sellers point-blank. Or does not want to notice, because money does not smell.