AN ARGUS sting has revealed dealers on Instagram are offering to sell illegal drugs to buyers in Brighton.

Accounts offered to sell cocaine, Ketamine, cannabis, magic mushrooms, and LSD over the social media company’s internet messaging platform.

I put the ruse together after Hove MP Peter Kyle criticised Instragram for failing to deal with an account that approached him, appearing to sell drugs.

To prove the account in question was actually attempting to sell illegal substances – rather than just posting pictures and making hints – I created a false profile.

The Argus:

The false profile was soon approached by accounts trying to sell drugs over Instagram messenger.

The Argus:

Many appeared to be based in the US, with prices listed in dollars. One offered LSD for $15 for a tab and magic mushrooms at $180 an ounce.

They proposed to “mail the goods” and take encrypted payments, including over Bitcoin.

The Argus:

The dealers were unaware of our cover. I asked one – who offered to sell us class A drugs – how it was done. They said: “We do it by mailing the goods bro at you door step. Save and secure” [sic].

Another dealer blamed coronavirus for not being able to allow buyers to pick up in person, saying: “You know the measures put in place by government as a result of this Covid-19 we don’t allow purchasers to pick their stuffs instead we do home delivery”.

The Argus:

Peter Kyle said: “This Argus investigation and my own experiences of Instagram show how social media giants are not keeping their houses in order.

“The Government needs to bring forward the delayed Online Harms bill so that we can have proper legislation to keep people safe online.”

Instagram did not delete the account that approached Mr Kyle.

The Argus has provided the police with the information received during the investigation.

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