A purge on the dark web. 288 people arrested, thousands more face prosecution

The operation resulted in the arrest of 288 people suspected of drug trafficking. Police officers also confiscated more than 50 million euros in cash and virtual currencies (1.18 billion crowns), 850 kilograms of drugs and 117 firearms. The operation focused on the illegal Monopoly Market.

Most of the drugs seized were amphetamines, but the police also found 43 kilograms of cocaine, the same amount of ecstasy and ten kilograms of LSD pills. More than 150 people were detained in the US, around 50 in Britain and Germany, and others were arrested in other countries.

“Our coalition of law enforcement agencies across three continents proves that we all do better when we work together. This operation sends a strong message to criminals on the dark web – international law enforcement has the means and ability to identify you and hold you accountable for your illegal activities, even on the dark web,” said Catherine De Bolle, Europol’s Executive Director.

The largest black market on the Internet has ceased to function. Nobody knows why


What is the dark web?

The dark web is an inaccessible part of the Internet that can only be accessed with specialized software – through the TOR platform.

For many years, the Internet black market has been used for ordering hacker attacks, obtaining malicious codes, but also, for example, for trading weapons, drugs or just stolen data.

The raid had been in preparation for over a year

Law enforcement had been preparing for the crackdown for a long time, as the German authorities provided the first evidence in December 2021. This evidence revealed the criminal infrastructure of the marketplace and allowed crime investigators to obtain extensive lists of sellers and buyers around the world.

In addition, thousands of customers of drug dealers are now at risk of prosecution.

The dark web is regularly targeted by the police. Last April, for example, the defenders of the law succeeded in dispersing the giant Hydra marketplace, where transactions worth 1.3 billion euros (30.68 billion crowns) took place.

“The message to criminals on the dark web is clear – you can try to hide in the furthest corners of the Internet, but the Department of Justice will find you and hold you accountable for your crimes,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference on Tuesday.

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