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S. 3782: Dark Web Interdiction Act of 2022


The text of the bill below is as of Mar 8, 2022 (Introduced).


II

117th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3782

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 8 (legislative day, March 7), 2022

(for herself and Mr. Cornyn) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL

To prohibit the delivery of opioids by means of the dark web, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Dark Web Interdiction Act of 2022.

2.

Findings and sense of Congress

(a)

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

The dark web is made up of websites and other network services that leverage overlay networks providing anonymity. These overlay networks use the internet but require specific software and configurations to access. The overlay networks use multiple encrypted traffic relays for which an individual relay computer knows its source of information and where the individual computer is sending the information but never knows both the original source and ultimate destination of the traffic simultaneously. This anonymity has provided criminals with the ability to host illicit material in a way that circumvents the ability of law enforcement agencies to serve legal process to remove or effectively investigate websites offering illegal content or goods for purchase or sharing.

(2)

Dark web marketplaces include e-commerce websites based on the dark web on which individuals use virtual currencies to engage in transactions involving drugs, weapons, malware, counterfeit currency, stolen credit cards, personal identifying information, forged documents, unlicensed pharmaceuticals, and other illicit goods.

(3)

Due to the anonymity provided by the dark web, illicit activities can be hosted from anywhere in the world without accountability to—

(A)

the Federal Government;

(B)

Federal laws; or

(C)

any other government or system of laws.

(4)

The use of the dark web to distribute illegal drugs has contributed and continues to contribute to the substance abuse crisis that is devastating communities across the United States. This devastation is due in large part to the fact that the dark web has made illicit goods obtainable anonymously.

(5)

Law enforcement agencies at every level of government continue to investigate drug trafficking and the sale of illegal goods and services through the dark web that occurs as a result of interactions on the dark web, both within the United States and at the international border of the United States, but the increased anonymity the internet provides has made it more difficult to identify and prosecute the individuals and organizations who—

(A)

administer or otherwise operate websites on the dark web that facilitate the distribution of illegal drugs, goods, or services; or

(B)

buy and sell illegal drugs, goods, or services through illicit marketplaces hosted on the dark web.

(6)

Despite difficulties in identifying and locating individuals and organizations who engage in drug trafficking on the dark web, law enforcement agencies have been effective in investigating and prosecuting the distribution of illegal drugs through illicit marketplaces on the dark web, as evidenced by Operation DisrupTor, which—

(A)

was announced in September 2020;

(B)

resulted in—

(i)

179 arrests worldwide, including 121 arrests in the United States;

(ii)

the seizure of approximately 500 kilograms of drugs worldwide, including 274 kilograms of drugs in the United States; and

(iii)

the seizure of more than $6,500,000 worth of virtual currencies and cash; and

(C)

is an example of one of many cases conducted jointly by—

(i)

the Federal Bureau of Investigation;

(ii)

the Drug Enforcement Administration;

(iii)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement;

(iv)

Homeland Security Investigations;

(v)

United States Customs and Border Protection;

(vi)

the United States Postal Inspection Service;

(vii)

the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network;

(viii)

the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives;

(ix)

the Naval Criminal Investigative Service;

(x)

the Department of Justice;

(xi)

the Department of Defense; and

(xii)

additional local, State, and international law enforcement partners.

(7)

Although law enforcement agencies have succeeded in investigating the distribution and sale of illegal drugs, goods, and services that occurs as a result of interactions on the dark web, investigative and prosecutorial collaboration, innovation, and advancement are critical to—

(A)

increasing the capacity to combat the threat posed by the dark web and the illicit marketplaces hosted on the dark web; and

(B)

enhancing collaboration and coordination among Federal, State, Tribal, local, international and other law enforcement partners, as appropriate.

(b)

Sense of congress

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1)

the dark web and illicit marketplaces hosted on the dark web facilitate the distribution of illegal drugs and pose a unique threat to the public health and national security in the United States; and

(2)

Congress should—

(A)

support law enforcement agencies and prosecutors at the Federal, State, Tribal, local, and international levels in their efforts to investigate and prosecute the distribution of illegal drugs, goods, and services through the dark web; and

(B)

increase the investigative and prosecutorial tools available to law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to address the distribution of illegal drugs, goods, and services through the dark web.

3.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Dark web

The term dark web has the meaning given the term in subsection (i) of section 401 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 841), as added by section 4 of this Act.

(2)

Director

The term Director means the Director of the task force.

(3)

Illicit marketplace

The term illicit marketplace means a website on the dark web on which individuals can use virtual currency to engage in transactions involving drugs, weapons, malware, counterfeit currency, stolen credit cards, personal identifying information, forged documents, or other illicit goods.

(4)

Indian tribe

The term Indian Tribe has the meaning given the term Indian tribe in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5304).

(5)

Opioid

The term opioid has the meaning given the term in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802).

(6)

Task force

The term task force means the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement Task Force established under section 5(a)(1).

4.

Offenses involving the dark web

Section 401 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 841) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(i)

Offenses involving dispensing of controlled substances by means of the dark web

(1)

Definition of dark web

In this subsection, the term dark web means a portion of the internet in which there are hidden sites and services that—

(A)

are not indexed by an internet search engine; and

(B)

are only accessible to users of specific devices, software, routing and anonymizing services, authorizations, or configurations that conceal the identities and locations of users.

(2)

Offense

It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly or intentionally—

(A)

deliver, distribute, or dispense a controlled substance by means of the dark web, except as authorized by this title; or

(B)

aid or abet (as such terms are used in section 2, title 18, United States Code) any activity described in subparagraph (A) that is not authorized by this title.

(3)

Penalty

Pursuant to its authority under section 994 of title 28, United States Code, the United States Sentencing Commission shall amend the Federal sentencing guidelines and policy statements to provide for a 2-level increase above the sentence otherwise applicable for a violation of paragraph (2).

.

5.

Joint criminal opioid and darknet enforcement task force

(a)

Establishment

(1)

In general

There is established in the Federal Bureau of Investigation an interagency program that shall be known as the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement Task Force.

(2)

Director

The task force shall be headed by a Director, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(b)

Purpose

The purpose of the task force shall be to detect, disrupt, and dismantle illicit marketplaces.

(c)

Components

(1)

Representatives

The task force shall include representatives from—

(A)

the Federal Bureau of Investigation;

(B)

the Drug Enforcement Administration;

(C)

the United States Postal Inspection Service;

(D)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement;

(E)

the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives;

(F)

Homeland Security Investigations;

(G)

United States Customs and Border Protection;

(H)

the Department of Defense;

(I)

the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network; and

(J)

the Department of Justice.

(2)

Consultation

The Director may consult with any State, Tribal, local, or international department or agency the Director determines necessary to carry out the purpose of the task force described in subsection (b).

(d)

Duties and functions

To further the purpose of the task force described in subsection (b), the task force shall—

(1)

engage in—

(A)

proactive and reactive investigations; and

(B)

forensic and cyberforensic examinations;

(2)

provide forensic and cyberforensic, technical, preventive, and investigative training and assistance to—

(A)

prosecutors; and

(B)

law enforcement agencies;

(3)

develop best practices to assist Federal, State, Tribal, and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and others, as appropriate, in the collection of evidence in order to determine and investigate possible nexuses to the dark web and virtual assets, including—

(A)

evidence logging;

(B)

evidence maintenance; and

(C)

evidence sharing;

(4)

develop multijurisdictional and multiagency responses and partnerships with Federal, international, local, and other law enforcement agencies, as appropriate, by—

(A)

establishing procedures for information sharing;

(B)

establishing lists of recommended specialized equipment and tools to investigate and prosecute the distribution of illicit drugs, goods, and services on the dark web; and

(C)

helping the agencies acquire the necessary knowledge, personnel, and specialized equipment to investigate and prosecute the distribution of illegal drugs, goods, and services through the dark web;

(5)

create novel investigative approaches to—

(A)

target emerging technologies that facilitate the distribution of opioids through illicit marketplaces on the dark web; and

(B)

build forensic capacity and expertise to meet the challenges posed by the technologies;

(6)

enhance collaboration and coordination with international partners; and

(7)

engage in any other activities the Director determines necessary to carry out the duties of the task force.

(e)

Guidance and training

The task force shall provide guidance and training to officers and employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other Federal, international, and other law enforcement agencies, as appropriate, relating to—

(1)

techniques and procedures to—

(A)

recognize evidence or potential evidence relating to the dark web; and

(B)

identify and recognize patterns and practices relating to the distribution of illegal drugs, services, and goods through the dark web;

(2)

the types of information that should be collected and recorded in information technology systems used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to help—

(A)

identify administrators and operators of illicit marketplaces;

(B)

identify vendors, buyers, and other individuals involved in the distribution of opioids through illicit marketplaces; and

(C)

detect, disrupt, and dismantle illicit marketplaces;

(3)

procedures for systematic and routine information sharing within the Federal Bureau of Investigation and between Federal, State, Tribal, and local law enforcement agencies; and

(4)

any other training or guidance the Director determines necessary to carry out the duties of the task force.

(f)

Report

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, acting through the Director, shall submit to the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives a report, which shall include, for the previous year—

(1)

a summary of the activities and accomplishments of the task force;

(2)

a description of the investigative methods used by the task force, including an assessment of the effectiveness of the methods;

(3)

information on investigation and prosecution performance measures for the task force, including—

(A)

the number of investigations the task force conducted or assisted;

(B)

the number of illicit marketplaces detected, disrupted, or dismantled as a result of an investigation conducted or assisted by the task force;

(C)

the number of arrests relating to an investigation conducted or assisted by the task force; and

(D)

statistics that account for the disposition of investigations by the task force that did not result in an arrest or a prosecution;

(4)

an assessment of partnerships between the task force and other Federal, State, Tribal, and local law enforcement agencies, including the effectiveness of guidance and training provided by the task force to personnel of other Federal, State, Tribal, and law enforcement agencies;

(5)

an evaluation of the collaboration and coordination between the task force and international partners;

(6)

recommendations for additional congressional or legislative action, as appropriate, that would be useful or necessary to achieve the purpose of the task force described in subsection (b);

(7)

a summary of how transactions involving the distribution of illegal drugs, goods, and services through the dark web are financed;

(8)

a description of a plan to increase the capacity to investigate the distribution of illegal drugs, goods, and services through the dark web; and

(9)

recommendations for additional congressional or legislative action, as appropriate, that would improve the efforts of Federal agencies to detect, disrupt, and dismantle illicit marketplaces, including efforts to identify individuals and groups involved in the distribution of illegal drugs, goods, and services through the dark web.

(g)

Funding

The Director shall carry out this section using amounts otherwise made available to the Attorney General.

(h)

Sunset

This section shall cease to have force or effect on the date that is 5 years after the date of enactment of this Act.

6.

Report on virtual currencies

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall submit to Congress a report on the use of virtual currencies in the distribution of opioids through illicit marketplaces on the dark web, which shall include—

(1)

a summary of how virtual currencies are—

(A)

used to finance transactions involving the distribution of opioids through illicit marketplaces on the dark web; and

(B)

exchanged in the course of transactions described in subparagraph (A), including transactions involving—

(i)

peer-to-peer networks;

(ii)

virtual currency;

(iii)

money transmitters; or

(iv)

other financial institutions;

(2)

the number of instances involving the distribution of opioids through illicit marketplaces on the dark web in which an individual involved used a virtual currency to finance the distribution;

(3)

the most common types of virtual currencies used by individuals involved in the distribution of opioids through illicit marketplaces on the dark web;

(4)

an assessment of the capacity to investigate the use of virtual currencies in the distribution of opioids through illicit marketplaces on the dark web, including—

(A)

efforts to assist financial institutions in detecting, identifying, and reporting suspicious activity and money laundering;

(B)

efforts to obtain financial records and other documents from virtual currency operators and exchanges;

(C)

training and guidance to Federal, State, Tribal, and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors; and

(D)

coordination and collaboration with international partners; and

(5)

recommendations for additional congressional or legislative action that would improve the efforts of Federal agencies to detect, disrupt, and dismantle illicit marketplaces on the dark web, including efforts to identify individuals using virtual currencies in the distribution of opioids through illicit marketplaces on the dark web.

7.

Five year update

It is the sense of Congress that, not less frequently than once every 5 years, Congress should evaluate and, if necessary, update the definition of the term dark web in section 401(i) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 841(i)), as added by section 4 of this Act.

8.

Severability

If any portion of this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of this Act and the amendments made by this Act, and the application of this Act or the amendments made by this Act to other persons not similarly situated or to other circumstances shall not be affected by the invalidation.