The Black Market: News, Facts and Statistics


    Havocscope displays information the black market through the following sections:


  1. Activities and ProductsCountries
  2. PricesIllegal Jobs
  3. Crowdsourced DataMarket Value

  4. Havocscope also collects the latest criminal justice information about the black market. The criminal activities of the black market are categorized in the following sections. Click on the category to see the black markets relating to the topic.


  5. Business Security ThreatsEnvironmental Threats
  6. Substance AbuseTransnational Crime


CRIMINAL JUSTICE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BLACK MARKET


What is the black market? How big is it? What types of goods are sold in the black market? To create a clearer picture, Havocscope collects the latest criminal justice information about the black market from a wide range of sources. These sources includes criminal justice programs, online news publication and user submitted data. The source of the black market activity is listed at the bottom of each post.



Criminals are using exploiting holes in wireless security to steal passwords and account details from ATM machines without the need installing skimming devices.

Criminals conduct this activity by placing a “skimming” device over the card reader of a legitimate ATM and install a pin pad over the keys. When a customer would use the ATM, the skimming machine would be able to capture the customers account data as well as the pin code. Once the machine was recovered, then the criminal would  have the information needed to breach the account.

Internet security experts state that criminals are now attempting to access debit card pin numbers and account information without installing the devices by targeting the machines through the internet.

In its 2014 Data Breach Investigation Report, Verizon studied 130 incidents of ATM skimming cases in 2013. Most of the ATM breaches took place at ATM machines and at gas pumps, where many customers use their debit cards to purchase gas. According to the report, the country with the most ATM skimming cases was Bulgaria, followed by Armenia, Romania, Brazil and the United States.

Source:  Jordan Robertson, “What Happens When the ‘Internet of Things’ Comes to ATM Skimmers,” Bloomberg, April 22, 2014.

According to the director of the Saudi Center for Organ Transplants, over 400 people from Saudi Arabia are believed to have bought organs from organ trafficking markets between 2012 and 2013.

There were 190 incidents of organs bought by Saudis in 2012, and 220 cases of organs being bough from black markets in China, Egypt and Pakistan, according to health officials.

Out of the total number of buyers, roughly 40 percent needed to get additional medical treatment due to side effects from the illegal organ transplant.

(Prices of organs for sale on the black market.)

Source:  “Over 400 needy Saudi patients turn to organs black market in Asia,” Saudi Gazette, April 21, 2014.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) that is fighting in Syria is estimated to be collecting over $1 Million a month from extortion rackets in Northern Iraq.

According to intelligence from security agencies, the group has expanded on collecting payments from businesses and shop owners since late 2012 and into 2013. The group runs its extortion rackets in the city of Mosul.

In an example of the type of demands made, a computer repair shop owner was told to pay $114,000 for jihad, according to a report in NPR. The group would call the man and tell him to leave the money in a bag. The man never saw the individuals, and was threatened that the ISIS has many people working for them to kill those that do not pay the extortion fee.

(More data on rackets by organized crime groups.)

Source:  Alice Fordham, “For Extremists In Syria, Extortion Brings Piles Of Cash From Iraq,” NPR, April 21, 2014.

The Japan Book Publishers Association and other publishing sources reported that online piracy of popular Japanese comic books are causing sales to drop.

Popular manga series such as Naruto and One Piece are quickly posted at online websites. There have also been incidents where the manga is pirated and posted online before it was released in stores. In an investigation conducted by Japanese media, over 700 installments of the One Piece series was available for free online.

Sales of comics books in Japan dropped from $4.3 Billion (450 Billion Japanese Yen) to $2.9 Billion (300 Billion Yen) between the years of 2007 and 2011.

Source:  “Manga pirated, put online,” Japan News, April 19, 2014.

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Based on statistics about kidnapping released in Mexico, there were 4,051 kidnapping victims across Mexico that were officially reported to criminal justice programs between December 2012 and February 28, 2014. 2,922 of the kidnapping victims were released, while 1,129 victims were still being held for ransom.

71 percent of the kidnapping victims were males. 69 percent of the victims were also considered to be non-affluent. These victims were middle class workers, shop owners students and mid-level professionals. Security intelligence and other research into the kidnap-for-ransom industry in Mexico have found that organized crime groups are now targeting these middle class workers in an attempt to expand the number of potential targets. The kidnappers charge a lower ransom demand, usually around $7,669 (100,000 Mexican Pesos), but are able to target a greater number of people instead of just targeting executives and wealthy families.

Source:  Sergio Ramos, “Mexico: The fight to end kidnapping,” Infosurhoy, April 11, 2014.

Officials in Sweden reported that 177,000 authentic Swedish passports have been stolen or lost. Security officials state that many of these passports may have been sold on the black market to criminals.

According to intelligence across criminal justice programs, Swedish passports are being sold on the black market for human trafficking purposes. These passports are being sold at prices of up to $12,200 (80,000 Swedish Kronor).

Source:  “Swedish passports hot property on black market,” The Local, April 12, 2014.

Criminal justice agencies in Iran have reported that 570 tons of illegal drugs were seized across the country during the Iranian fiscal year, which fan from March 21,2013 to March 20, 2014. The types of illicit drugs confiscated included opium, heroin, morphine, and hashish. Over 70 percent of the seized narcotics were opium.

According to security forces, over 70 percent of the drugs that were seized took place on the country’s eastern borders, which lies next to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Afghanistan supplies over 90 percent of the world’s opium supply, and the trafficking of opium is estimated to contribute up to 15 percent of Afghanistan’s GDP.

(What is the price of heroin around the world?)

Source:  “Iranian Official: 70% of Illicit Drugs Confiscated along Eastern Borders,” Tasnim News Agency, April 14, 2014.

According to security agents in Mexico, hackers, extortionists and other cyber criminals generated $3 Billion in revenue from various forms of cybercrimes in Mexico in 2013.

Criminal justice programs in the country handled 23,543 cases of cybercrime in 2013.

The director of the Scientific Police Division in Mexico stated that when hackers take over a computer system, they force the computer owner to pay an extortion fee in order to relinquish control of the computer. On average, the extortion fee ranges between $2,000 to $3,000 and is paid through electronic means to a bank account.

(More internet crimes and hacking services online.)

Source:  “Mexico: Computer hacking becoming form of extortion,” Infosurhoy, April 11, 2014.

In early 2014, federal security administrators reported that more heroin grown and produced in Mexico was entering the United States. Officials stated that this was occurring due to the decrease in marijuana that was being sold by Mexican traffickers.

Based on intelligence and media interviews, the wholesale price of marijuana sold in Mexico has dropped within the past 5 years. In 2009, a farmer growing marijuana in Mexico was able to receive up to $100 per kilogram of wholesale marijuana. By 2014, the wholesale price of marijuana dropped to less than $25. Farmers state that the push towards marijuana legalization has contributed to the downfall as more people buy higher-quality marijuana that was grown in the United States.

As the price of marijuana decreased, Mexican drug cartel have begun looking for new revenue streams. It appears as if they have found a replacement in heroin.

With reports from criminal justice programs stating that heroin abuse increased by 79 percent in the US between 2007 and 2012, Mexican cartels are increasing their supply in order to meet demand. Back in 2007, border security agents seized 367 kilograms of heroin that was being smuggled into the United States from Mexico. In 2013, security agents seized 2,162 kilograms.

A contributing factor to the high heroin abuse rates in the US is driven by prescription drugs abuse. With heroin being cheaper than prescription drugs, many users are continually switching to heroin due to its cheaper cost. For example, a prescription drug sold on the black market in can be sold for up to $80, with the effect of the pill wearing off after 4 to 6 hours. A hit of heroin can be sold for as little as $4.

Farm workers in Mexico are cashing in from the increase in heroin demand. Farmers in the Northern Sierra Madre earn up to $30 to $40 per day cultivating poppies on farmland. The poppy farm is reportedly the best paid farm in Northern Mexico.

Farmers sell a kilogram of opium for $1,500. The wholesale price has doubled in 2013 from the year before. The raw opium is sold to middlemen who cook the opium into heroin. After being smuggled across the border, a kilogram in the Northern United States can be sold for $60,000 to $80,000.

(How much does heroin cost per gram?)

Source:  Nick Miroff, “Tracing the U.S. heroin surge back south of the border as Mexican cannabis output falls,” Washington Post, April 6, 2014.

A study on digital content by La Coalicion found that 51 percent of internet users in Spain accessed pirated content in 2013.

84 percent of all digital content, such as movies and music, were illegally consumed in Spain during the year.

43 percent of the internet users who committed online piracy stated that they had either downloaded pirated movies or watched the movie on unlicensed streaming  sites.

The report finds that pirating digital content in Spain causes tax losses of $725 Million and the loss of over 26,000 jobs.

Back in 2012, market research firm Nielsen reported that around 45 percent of all internet pages visited by Spain users had links to pirated music or movies.

Source:  “Half of Spain’s internet users download illegally,” The Local, April 9, 2014.