Attorney General Jeff Sessions Monday announced a new resource to help federal law enforcement disrupt online illicit opioid sales, the Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team.
“Criminals think that they are safe on the darknet, but they are in for a rude awakening,” Attorney General Sessions said. “We have already infiltrated their networks, and we are determined to bring them to justice. In the midst of the deadliest drug crisis in American history, the FBI and the Department of Justice are stepping up our investment in fighting opioid-related crimes. The J-CODE team will help us continue to shut down the online marketplaces that drug traffickers use and ultimately that will help us reduce addiction and overdoses across the nation.”
J-CODE will more than double the FBI’s investment in fighting online opioid trafficking. The FBI is dedicating dozens more Special Agents, Intelligence Analysts, and professional staff to J-CODE so that they can focus on this one issue of online opioid trafficking.
In July 2017, Attorney General Sessions announced the seizure of the largest darknet marketplace in history. This site hosted some 220,000 drug listings and was responsible for countless synthetic opioid overdoses, including the tragic death of a 13-year-old.
In August 2017, Attorney General Sessions ordered the creation of a new data analytics program, the Opioid Fraud, and Abuse Detection Unit, to focus specifically on investigating opioid-related health care fraud. The same day, he assigned a dozen prosecutors to “hot spot” districts—where opioid addiction is especially prevalent—to focus solely on investigating and prosecuting opioid-related health care fraud.
In November, Attorney General Sessions ordered all 94 U.S. Attorney offices to designate an opioid coordinator who will customize federal law enforcement’s anti-opioid strategy in their district.