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Dark web crackdown: 288 arrested, assets seized

TL;DR

  • Over $53 million in cash and cryptocurrency was seized in a joint international operation.
  • The operation also involved law enforcement from Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, and the UK.
  • This operation marks a continuation of the effort to disrupt dark web marketplaces after the closure of Hydra in 2022 and the online identity theft site Genesis Market in 2023.

Law enforcement agencies in the US and several other countries have conducted a major crackdown on dark web drug trafficking in an operation dubbed Operation SpecTor. The joint action saw 288 suspects arrested, over $53 million in cash and cryptocurrency confiscated, and dozens of firearms and over 850 kilograms of drugs seized. The operation spanned across the US, Europe, and South America and involved law enforcement on three continents.

Operation SpecTor was aimed at tackling fentanyl and opioid trafficking on the darknet. Attorney General Merrick Garland said that more than 100 federal operations and prosecutions had been made in the US. The operation also involved law enforcement from Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, and the UK. Europol added that the operation resulted in the seizure of a dark-web marketplace called Monopoly Market.

Dark web criminals held accountable

This operation marks a continuation of the effort to disrupt darknet marketplaces after the closure of Hydra in 2022 and the online identity theft site Genesis Market in 2023. In April 2022, American and German federal government law enforcement agencies seized and shut down Hydra, which was considered to be the world’s largest and oldest darknet marketplace of illegal items and services. 

The DOJ said German Federal Criminal Police had seized cryptocurrency wallets containing $25 million in Bitcoin from the marketplace. The agency also claimed Hydra accounted for an estimated 80% of all darknet market-related cryptocurrency transactions in 2021.

Earlier this year, authorities shut down the popular fraud shop Genesis Market. They arrested hundreds of its users around the world in a coordinated international law enforcement effort dubbed Operation Cookie Monster.

The success of Operation SpecTor sends a strong message to criminals on the dark web that international law enforcement has the means and the ability to identify and hold them accountable for their illegal activities, even on the dark web. The operation highlights the importance of collaboration between law enforcement agencies across borders in tackling organized crime and drug trafficking on the dark web.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Lacton Muriuki

Lacton is an experienced journalist specializing in blockchain-based technologies, including NFTs and cryptocurrency. He dabbles in daily crypto news rich with well-researched stats. He adds aesthetic appeal, adding a human face to technology.

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