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150 Arrested in international dark web operation

By J.Austine Oct. 30, 2021, 3:45 p.m.
150 Arrested in international dark web operation

An international police operation has led to the arrest of over 150 alleged suspects trading on the dark web. The suspects allegedly got involved in buying or selling illicit products on the dark web. The coordinated international dark web operation involved police forces from nine countries.

During the operation, more than $31 million in cash and virtual currencies has been seized. Additionally, 234kg of drugs and 45 firearms also got recovered from the operation. The seized illicit drugs include 152 kg of amphetamine, 27 kg of opioids and over 25, 000 ecstasy pills.

International dark web operation dubbed Dark HunTOR

The operation, dubbed  Dark HunTOR, is composed of a series of varied but complementary actions from different countries. These countries include Australia, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Europol and Eurojost led and coordinated the operation.

However, the operation dates back to early this year when DarkMarket went down. DarkMarket was the world's then largest dark marketplace on the dark web. So at the time the dark web giant shut down, German authorities reportedly arrested the operator. Furthermore, the criminal infrastructure was also seized, thus providing evidence to the pool of investigators across the world.

DarkMarket shut down

Now, when a giant falls, it doesn't go alone. DarkMarket therefore went with 150 others. Yes, 150 vendors who engaged in buying and selling thousands of illicit substances on the platform were arrested. The arrests were made mostly across Europe and the United States. Europop considered most of the suspects as High-Value-Targets.

Around 65 individuals were arrested in the United States, the highest number. So other 47 in Germany, 24 in the United Kingdom, 4 in Italy, and Netherlands. France, Switzerland and Bulgaria had 3, 2 and 1 respectively. Investigations still ongoing to identify more individuals behind illegal operations on the dark web.

In line with this operation, Authorities in Italy also shut down DeepSea and Berlusconi dark web marketplaces. The two markets combined boasted more than 100, 000 announcements of illegal products and services. Four operators of the two markets were arrested and over €3.6 million in cryptocurrencies seized.

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