Illicit Fentanyl: A Geopolitical and Open Source Analysis

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Geopolitical Report Vol.3/2023: Illicit Fentanyl
Read and Download “Illicit Fentanyl: A Geopolitical and Open SourceAnalysis” Geopolitical Report ISSN 2532-845X Volume 3 Year 2023

Title: Illicit Fentanyl: A Geopolitical and Open Source Analysis

Publication: Geopolitical Report ISSN 2532-845X

Authors: Kaitlyn Rabe & Giuliano Bifolchi

Citation: Kaitlyn Rabe & Giuliano Bifolchi, “Illicit Fentanyl: A Geopolitical and Open Source Analysis”, Geopolitical Report ISSN 2532-845X, Volume 3, 2023.

Abstract in English

This report endeavors to analyze the issue of the illegal fentanyl market proliferation in the United States and North America, aiming to delineate its primary facets pertaining to geopolitics and security. Additionally, this work strives, through various Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) investigative methodologies, to demonstrate the ease with which fentanyl consumers and buyers can access this substance by leveraging the Dark Web and cryptocurrencies. The convergence of geopolitical factors and advancements in digital technologies has engendered an environment conducive to the expansion of this illicit market, warranting a comprehensive examination to inform policy and intervention strategies. The utilization of OSINT techniques allows for a nuanced understanding of the dynamics at play, shedding light on the intricate web of actors, mechanisms, and technologies involved in the dissemination of fentanyl. Through this rigorous analysis, this report endeavors to contribute to the broader discourse on countering illicit drug trade and safeguarding public health and security.

Keywords: United States, fentanyl, narcotics, Dark Web, Open Source Intelligence

Abstract in Italiano

Questo report si prefigge come obiettivo quello di analizzare il problema della diffusione del mercato illegale del fentanyl negli Stati Uniti e in Nord America cercando di delinearne i principali aspetti legati alla geopolitica e alla sicurezza. In aggiunta, questo lavoro si prefigge attraverso alcune metodologie di indagine dell’Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) di mostrare la facilità con la quale i consumatori e compratori di fentanyl possano accedere a questa sostanza sfruttando il Dark Web e le criptovalute. La convergenza di fattori geopolitici e e dei progressi nelle tecnologie digitali ha generato un ambiente favorevole all’espansione di questo mercato illecito. L’utilizzo delle tecniche OSINT consente una comprensione delle dinamiche in gioco, facendo luce sull’intricata rete di attori, meccanismi e tecnologie coinvolti nella diffusione del fentanyl. Attraverso un’analisi rigorosa, il presente rapporto tenta di contribuire al discorso più ampio sulla lotta al traffico illecito di droga e sulla salvaguardia della salute e della sicurezza pubblica.

Parole chiave: Stati Uniti, fentanyl, narcotraffico, Dark Web, analisi fonti aperte

Authors bio

Kaitlyn RabeGeneral Manager and Vice President of Mondo Internazionale APS. She completed her Bachelor of Arts (Summa Cum Laude with Research Distinction) in International Studies and Italian at The Ohio State University. During her undergraduate career, she wrote a thesis on Italian fascist subversion in the Maghreb, for which she won “Honorable Mention” at the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum and was published in the university Undergraduate Research Journal, JUROS. Having studied both Italian and French during her Bachelor’s degree, she decided to continue her studies in Europe, where she completed an MSc with Honors in International Relations at the University of Milan. Here, she wrote a thesis on the governmental structure of the United Republic of Tanzania and the resulting discrepancies in human development throughout the country; while visiting Tanzania, she discovered an affinity for the themes of food security, food sovereignty, and human development. In her current role at Mondo Internazionale, she has participated in the 2021 World Food Forum and the 2022 “IFAD: Bridging the Gap between Research and Policy” conference. Besides her role in Mondo Internazionale, she is also an Economic and Political Consultant for  Minter Group Ltd. and an English teacher.

Giuliano Bifolchi, Research Manager of SpecialEurasia. He has vast experience in Intelligence analysis, geopolitics, security, conflict management, and ethnic minorities. He holds a PhD in Islamic history from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, a master’s degree in Peacebuilding Management and International Relations from Pontifical University San Bonaventura, and a master’s degree in History from the University of Rome Tor Vergata. As an Intelligence analyst and political risk advisor, he has organised working visits and official missions in the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, and the post-Soviet space and has supported the decision-making process of private and public institutions writing reports and risk assessments. Currently, he teaches Webint and Open Source Intelligence at the European Forensic Institute of Malta. Previously, he founded and directed ASRIE Analytica. He has written several academic papers on geopolitics, conflicts, and jihadist propaganda. He is the author of the books “Geopolitical del Caucaso russo. Gli interessi del Cremlino e degli attori stranieri nelle dinamiche locali nordcaucasiche” (Sandro Teti Editore 2020) and “Storia del Caucaso del Nord tra presenza russa, Islam e terrorismo” (Anteo Edizioni 2022). He was also the co-author of the book “Conflitto in Ucraina: rischio geopolitico, propaganda jihadista e minaccia per l’Europa” (Enigma Edizioni).

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