Law enforcement agencies around the world have arrested 288 people suspected of buying and selling drugs on the dark web. As reported in a joint statement by the US Department of Justice and Europol, the joint effort also resulted in the shutdown of the popular marketplace for trading illegal goods and services – Monopoly Market.
Codenamed SpecTor, the operation was conducted in collaboration with nine countries including the US, UK, Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Brazil and Switzerland. 155 people were arrested in the United States, and in total, law enforcement agencies from the countries involved in the operation seized $53.4 million in cash, as well as digital assets, 850 kg of drugs and 117 firearms.
The Monopoly Market marketplace has been active on the dark web since 2019, serving as a kind of hub that allowed criminals to buy and sell drugs. German authorities are reported to have eliminated the site’s “criminal infrastructure” back in 2021.
According to Europol, this provided law enforcement with the basis for “hundreds of national investigations”. In addition, buyer lists have been obtained from illegal seller bases, which could lead to “thousands” of new arrests around the world.
According to US officials, Operation SpecTor was a coordinated project by law enforcement agencies from different countries, overseen by the US Department of Justice, aimed at combating drug trafficking on the dark web.
In February, it was reported that dark web revenues had more than halved following the closure of another popular criminal marketplace. — Hydra Market.