Law enforcement agents across the world have apprehended 150 suspects in a well-coordinated global sting to combat international dark web crime.
It turns out that the police arrested 65 suspects in the United States, 47 in Germany, and 24 in Britain. Further reports indicate that more suspects were caught in Italy, Netherlands and other unnamed destinations across the world.
According to Europol, those arrested have been linked to the buying and selling of illicit goods and services via dark web marketplaces. The suspects include high-profile targets that have been conducting illicit businesses online for years.
Touted by the authorities as “one of the largest-ever stings against dark web crime, Operation Dark HunTOR went further to confiscate millions of Euros in both fiat and digital currencies, illicit substances and firearms.
Specific details shared in a U.S. DOJ Press Release indicates that the global sting led to the confiscation of $31 million in cash and digital currencies, including 45 guns and 234kg of drugs, including 25,000 ecstasy pills.
While commenting on the latest law enforcement development, the 39th U.S. Deputy Attorney General Monaco said, “ This 10-month massive international law enforcement operation spanned across three continents and involved dozens of U.S. and international law enforcement agencies to send one clear message to those hiding on the Darknet peddling illegal drugs: there is no dark internet. We can and we will shine a light.”
He added, “Operation Dark HunTor prevented countless lives from being lost to this dangerous trade in illicit and counterfeit drugs, because one pill can kill. The Department of Justice with our international partners will continue to crack down on lethal counterfeit opioids purchased on the Darknet.”
A Follow-up on DarkMarket’s Early 2021 Takedown
The international sting is reported to stem from the German-led law enforcement operation in early 2021, which took down DarkMarket that was considered to be one of the largest dark web markets in recent history.
By the time the law enforcement operation caught up with the darknet platform, DarkMarket had grown into a dark web behemoth with almost half a million users – including more than 2,400 vendors shipping items globally.
The users transacted cryptocurrency totaling $170 million as turnover for the more than 320,000 transactions that were registered by the site. Cybersecurity analysts noted that DarkMarket had integrated two of the most common cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Monero.
At the time of closure, law enforcement agents from the Northern City of Oldenburg managed to apprehend the alleged operator of DarkMarket that was considered the world’s largest darknet marketplace at the time.