Reports estimate that between 10 to as much as two dozen midshipmen based at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, near Washington, D.C., were part of an elaborate scheme to supply their peers with illicit drugs including cocaine, LSD, and ketamine. As reported by Fox News, the criminal ring used Bitcoin to purchase the drugs on the dark web.
Sources from within the academy (who spoke on the condition of anonymity) told Fox News that as many as two-dozen midshipmen are under investigation. The investigation is still unfolding, so as of yet, no formal or pending charges have been brought against the accused.
Naval Academy spokesman David Mckinney was quoted as saying that the “command-assisted investigation” was opened after the Naval Academy and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) received “a midshipman report of alleged recreational drug use within the Brigade.”
“The results of the investigation are still pending. We are continuing to work with NCIS on these reported allegations. The Navy has a zero tolerance for drug abuse and takes all allegations of misconduct very seriously,” Mckinney said.
Despite not releasing their names, two of the accused are prior enlisted midshipmen who had spent time in the fleet before gaining appointment to the Naval Academy, which educates and trains officers for the Navy and the Marine Corps. One of the midshipmen tested positive on a drug test in early January after returning from Christmas break.
Between 2010 and 2011, according to the Annapolis Capital, “NCIS conducted an 11-month investigation into the use of synthetic marijuana, or spice, by midshipmen. That investigation ended the careers of at least 27 midshipmen.” Further, naval officials have confirmed from 2010 through 2017, seven midshipmen were expelled for drugs.
This news comes at a time when governments around the world are pointing an accusatory finger at cryptocurrencies for their alleged role in online drug marketplaces and money laundering operations, despite the fact that recent studies have shown that money laundering cases associated with cryptocurrencies account for less than one percent of the total.
The dark web is a part of the World Wide Web that is only accessible by means of special software called a Tor browser. This permits users and website operators to remain anonymous and untraceable, making it a fitting environment for a sort of online, open-air drug market.
The Silk Road, one of the most infamous sites on the dark web, was the first of these modern darknet markets, used as a platform for selling illegal drugs and weapons. In October 2013, the FBI shut down the website and arrested Ross William Ulbricht on charges of being the site’s pseudonymous founder “Dread Pirate Roberts.”