A coordinated operation conducted by law enforcement agencies across the world, dubbed Operation DisrupTor, targeted vendors and buyers of illicit goods on the dark web.
The operation, led by the German federal criminal police, saw the participation of law agencies from Austria, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States.
This operation follows the takedown in May of last year of Wall Street Market that took place in May 2019. The Wall Street Market marketplace was considered one of the most important points of aggregation in the cybercrime underground for trading in cocaine, heroin, cannabis and amphetamines as well as digital goods (i.e. stolen data, malware, and fake documents). The Tor-based marketplace had more than one million registered accounts, more than 5,000 registered sellers and more than 60,000 sales offers.
Operation DisrupTor resulted in the arrest of 179 vendors who engaged in tens of thousands of sales of illicit good were arrested across Europe and the United States.
“Today, a coalition of law enforcement agencies across the world announced the results of a coordinated operation known as DisrupTor which targeted vendors and buyers of illicit goods on the dark web.” reads the press release published by the Europol. “As a result, 179 vendors who engaged in tens of thousands of sales of illicit good were arrested across Europe and the United States. Over $6.5 million were seized in both cash and virtual currencies, alongside some 500 kilograms of drugs, including fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, MDMA, and medicine containing addictive substances; and 64 firearms.”
The police arrested 121 people in the US, 42 in Germany, 8 in the Netherlands, 4 in the UK, 3 in Austria and 1 in Sweden.
The Europol confirmed that multiple investigations are still ongoing.
“Law enforcement is most effective when working together, and today’s announcement sends a strong message to criminals selling or buying illicit goods on the dark web: the hidden internet is no longer hidden, and your anonymous activity is not anonymous.” the Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), Edvardas Šileris said. “Law enforcement is committed to tracking down criminals, no matter where they operate – be it on the streets or behind a computer screen.”
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(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Operation DisrupTor)