Mason and NYU researchers to study drug and counterfeit illicit supply chains

Louise Shelley, Professor/Director, Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC), Edward Huang, Associate Professor, Systems Engineering and Operations Research, Volgenau School of Engineering, and Damon McCoy, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering in New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, are beginning a multidisciplinary project to understand, model, and disrupt drug and counterfeit illicit supply chains. Their goal is to understand more about the operations of illicit actors in the cyberworld, in both the open web and dark web, and the supply chains and payment systems for online narcotic drug sales, counterfeit pharmaceuticals, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

To achieve that understanding, the researchers intend to study the supply chains from source to delivery through the money laundering of profits. They will use rich corporate datasets that include data on open and dark websites, communications of criminals on the dark web, payments, prosecuted criminal cases and transport information–data that together provide extensive insights into online illicit sales of drugs, pharmaceuticals, and PPE.

The researchers also hope to understand and detect criminal patterns to develop new models of illicit supply chains and suggest different possible disruption strategies.

The researchers will receive $1,000,000 from the National Science Foundation for this project. Funding will begin in October 2020 and will end in late September 2025.


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