A global collaboration between law enforcement agencies has led to over 100 arrests and over $6.5mln in cash and cryptocurrency seized connected to Darknet opioid networks this month.
The effort, codenamed Operation Disruptor, involved the US Department of Justice’s Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (JCODE) and Europol. The operation was conducted across America and Europe and focused on the illegal sale of drugs and other contraband and illicit services on Darknet marketplaces.
The various agencies involved then began separate but complementary investigations into Darknet drug trafficking operations. DisrupTor led to the arrest of 179 Darknet drug traffickers and criminals who carried out tens of thousands of sales of illicit goods and services.
The operation led to authorities seizing over $6.5 mln of cash and cryptocurrencies as well as 500 kilograms of drugs worldwide and 274 kilograms of various different drugs in America alone as well as 63 firearms.
The investigations also led to Darknet vendor accounts being linked to actual suspects selling services and goods on various platforms including AlphaBay, Dream, WallStreet, Nightmare, Empire, White House, DeepSea and Dark Market. In America alone 121 suspects were arrested, 42 in Germany, 8 from the Netherlands, four from the UK, three in Austria and one in Sweden.
FBI – Darknet not untouchable
Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen believes that the operation will serve as an example of law enforcement’s ability to clamp down on illicit Darknet activities.
“The arrest of 179 of them in seven countries—with the seizure of their drug supplies and their money as well—shows that there will be no safe haven for drug dealing in cyberspace.”
Meanwhile FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the agencies involved in these investigations will continue their efforts to stop these illicit operations.
“The FBI wants to assure the American public, and the world, that we are committed to identifying Darknet drug dealers and bringing them to justice. But our work does not end with today’s announcement. The FBI, through JCODE and our partnership with Europol, continues to be actively engaged in a combined effort to disrupt the borderless, worldwide trade of illicit drugs. The FBI will continue to use all investigative techniques and tools to identify and prosecute Darknet opioid dealers, wherever they may be located.”
The US Drug Enforcement Agency and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations also contributed to investigations. Cyber analysts and investigations went as far as carrying out undercover operations in order to identify cybercriminals.
The US Postal Inspection Service has also played a role in stopping the amount of contraband delivered though the American mail network.