July 13, 2024
Fentanyl at the click of a mouse
A Manitoba dealer who was caught after ordering fentanyl via the dark web shines a light on the drug’s supply chain.
A Manitoba dealer who was caught after ordering fentanyl via the dark web shines a light on the drug’s supply chain.

Ray Csincsa walked to his room and opened the package he had just signed for. It was a cardboard envelope about a foot long, covered in Chinese lettering and addressed to his alias, Thomas Greene. Csincsa was a little surprised he had to sign for the package, but didn’t think much of it. He opened the envelope and took a sample of the white powder inside. The high he experienced soon after confirmed it was what it was supposed to be: fentanyl.

This package contained about 10 grams of the drug, enough to produce about 11,000 doses. It was more than Csincsa had ever ordered to his Winnipeg rooming house. Just a few months earlier, the police had shut down his upstart, pre-legalization marijuana delivery business after a man he thought was a customer turned out to be an undercover officer, with police raiding his hotel room and placing him under arrest. Rather than get out of the business, however, the unemployed 53-year-old decided to try his hand at dealing fentanyl. He had already developed an addiction to the opiate and knew how to order it on the dark web, a corner of the internet that can only be accessed with a special browser and whose sites aren’t indexed by Google.

It used to take more than an internet connection, a high tolerance for risk and some technical savvy to become a drug dealer. To purchase drugs at wholesale prices and develop a customer base, you had to know someone who knew someone—and usually those someones had links to organized crime. Police say that’s still the case for the vast majority of drug trafficking in Canada, including the fentanyl trade. But drug markets on the dark web, which are in many ways similar to online megastores like Amazon, have made it possible for entrepreneurial types like Csincsa to order a stash with a click of a mouse and start selling it on their own.

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