Attorney General Jeff Sessions, JD, announced that dozens of federal agents and analysts will form a team to disrupt illicit opioid sales online. The Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team comprises agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as task forces from the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The formation of J-CODE marks the latest effort to combat the opioid epidemic, which claimed 64,000 lives from overdoses in 2016. Mobile technology has revolutionized the illicit drug trade; instead of turning to dealers in open-air markets, buyers are using encrypted communications and messaging apps on their phones.
In August, the DOJ assigned 12 prosecutors to regions where opioid addiction is widespread and created the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit to focus on investigating opioid-related health-care fraud. In November, under Mr. Sessions orders, all 94 U.S. attorney’s offices designated an opioid coordinator.
Source: The Washington Post, January 29, 2018.