INTERPOL has made some large busts in the past, but afaik it always has come down to failure to maintain proper OPSEC.
There's also the issue of possible directives in the future to prosecute customers en masse after major domestic busts using backlogged USPS analytics. As traffic obfuscation methods continuously improve, the economics of such directives will begin to look more and more reasonable when the goal is not to stop trade directly, but by establishing fear with precedent.
The problem with dead drops is that on a large scale where the level of trust is sufficiently low, it inevitably requires an escrow and resolution system with human moderation. And then you've just centralized trust instead of circumventing it. Dropgangs in the form described by the article do not provide the full package.
The article itself claims dropgangs and off-market platforms are the future and then goes on to state:
> Cryptocurrencies are still the main means of payment, but due to the higher customer-binding, and vetting process by the merchant, escrows are seldom employed. Usually only multi-party transactions between customer and merchant are established, and often not even that.
The author doesn't seem to make the connection that higher levels of trust means less scalability. The success of these platforms however is directly related to their scalability. Yes, this is a dangerous, criminal activity for both parties and I definitely do not appreciate the explosion in popularity of these kinds of markets. I have seen regular people get serious federal prison time due to the Dunning-Kruger effect.
The barrier for entry is much higher for new distributors as well, because A) at this membrane exists highest ratio of undercover law enforcement and B) establishing initial trust is key to something like dead drops, which typically will involve high-dollar, distributor-to-distributor transactions. Open markets help to facilitate initial trust-building by providing a trustworthy platform.