Bill would hike penalties for dark web drug-trafficking

March 9, 2022 GMT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire would increase the penalties for people who traffic illegal drugs through the dark web.

The bill introduced Tuesday by Hassan, a Democrat, and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is called the Dark Web Interdiction Act.

The dark web is part of the internet, but hosted within an encrypted network. It is accessible only through anonymity-providing tools.

“Drug dealers are using the dark corners of the internet to sell deadly drugs that are fueling the substance misuse crisis in New Hampshire and across the country,” Hassan said in a statement. “These dark web marketplaces, which often rely on cryptocurrency for payment, are an increasing threat to our ongoing efforts to stem the flow of fentanyl and other drugs into our communities.”

The bill also would direct the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Treasury to issue a report to Congress within a year detailing the use of cryptocurrency on the dark web. It would provide recommendations for how Congress can address the use of virtual currency for opioid trafficking on the dark web.