A extensive police sting has netted 179 vendors selling illegal goods online and seized millions in currency, poisons and guns, heralding an end to the “golden age” of dark web markets, Europol said Tuesday.
Member of the firm DisrupTor saw law agencies pounce in Austria, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the Mutual States to target those selling and buying illegal goods on the internet’s expensive anonymous bazaar, Europe’s police agency said in a statement.
Led by the German federal scoundrel police “this takedown provided investigators with… information and materials to identify suspects behind dark web accounts used for interdicted activity”, Europol said.
“As a result, 179 vendors who engaged in tens-of-thousands of transaction marked downs of illicit goods were arrested across Europe and the United States,” in the effective coordinated by Europol, the continent’s judicial agency Eurojust and US government forces.
Some 121 suspects were arrested in the US, followed by 42 in Germany, eight in the Netherlands, four in Britain, three in Austria and one in Sweden.
The cops also seized more than $6.5 million (5.5 million euros) in hard cash and online currencies, as well as around 500 kilogrammes of drugs counting cocaine, heroin, oxycodone and methamphetamine as well as 64 guns.
A sum up of investigations were still ongoing, Europol said.
Operation DisrupTor walked a law agency shutdown of the Wall Street Market, the second largest felonious online market on the dark web in May last year which had more than 1.1 million operators and 5,400 vendors, Europol said.
“Today’s announcement sends a determined message to criminals buying and selling illicit goods on the dark web,” combined Edvardas Sileris, who heads Europol’s EC3 cybercrime centre.
“The hidden internet is no longer recondite and your anonymous activity is not anonymous,” Sileris said, with Europol adding “the auspicious age of the dark web marketplace is over.”