Drug smugglers go high-tech
Drug cartels embrace the biotech future of pharma
For the first time ever, Interpol managed to secure convictions for the kingpins of a worldwide drug smuggling cartel that no longer smuggles any drugs. The Toros Cartel evolved their smuggling techniques from human mules to private planes, to autonomous drones and submarines. But they finally got caught with a network of thousands of 3D printers across North America, Europe and Asia.
At yesterday’s press briefing, Interpol spokesperson Belinda Sanchez described how a high-tech investigation and international chase spanning more than three years, culminated in the apprehension and conviction of the top seven masterminds behind the drug ring.
Having seen a sudden and massive decrease of intercepted drug shipments in early 2023, combined with the slump in confiscated drugs on the street, Interpol come up with two theories. Smugglers had become more sophisticated, or smuggling had stopped. As it turned out, both were true.
Sanchez explained that to assist with deciphering the mystery, Interpol had teamed up with a high-tech company from Amsterdam, employing artificial intelligence to analyze millions of records of 3D printer sales, basic chemical supplies, emailed drug printing files, bank transfers, and key cartel members’ travels.
The costly smuggling, in-country distribution, and stockpiling of drugs had been eliminated by technology, driving the Toro Cartel’s profits through the roof. The cartel’s thugs had been replaced by computer whiz-kids who could print drugs where and when needed, making them almost impossible to apprehend.
What concerned Interpol the most though, were the designer drug blueprints they found at several locations. With their massive cash hordes, the drug cartels were evolving into legit Biotech and Pharma companies focusing on personalized recreational drugs and human chemical augmentation.
Sanchez warned that although today was a victory, criminal gangs could deploy modern tech quickly and without regulation, making the future of law enforcement a high-tech game of cat and mouse in cyberspace, metaverses, and the dark web.
Links to related stories
- The Future of 3D Printing Drugs In Pharmacies Is Closer Than You Think - The Future of Digital Health, 24 August 2022
- How personalised 3D-printed drugs can cut costs & eliminate fakes - BioSpectrum, 2 April 2022
- Mindbullet: Drug drones swamp borders (Dateline: 27 April 2017)
- Mindbullet: Stop shipping, start printing (Dateline: 17 March 2027)
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