Operation disruptor against darknet handlers: 179 arrests in seven states

Operation disruptor against darknet handlers: 179 arrests in seven states

In internationally coordinated operations, investigators in Europe and the U.S. arrested 179 people accused of illegal trafficking on the Darknet. The so-called Operation "Operation DisrupTor" is based on law enforcement successes in the aftermath of the shutdown of the Wall Street Market darknet trading site, European police agency Europol said.

This had enabled the identities of dozens of traders to be established, against whom action had been taken. According to the report, 42 arrests have been made in Germany, 119 suspects have been arrested in the U.S., 8 in the Netherlands, 4 in the U.K., 3 in Austria, 2 in Canada and one in Sweden.

Success thanks to Wall Street Market

In the spring of 2019, investigators from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) had arrested the suspected operators of the second largest illegal online marketplace on the darknet, Wall Street Market. Drugs, spied data, forged documents and malicious software were sold there. Later the so-called cyber bunker was excavated. Thanks to the success of the investigation, law enforcement was also able to identify dozens of the handlers involved, the U.S. Department of Justice now states. In Operation DisrupTor, these were targeted – over a total period of nine months. Other identities are still being investigated, so the investigation is not over yet.

"Cyberbunker" in Traben-Trarbach (122 pictures)

Operation disruptor against darknet handlers: 179 arrests in seven states

The money

In total, investigators seized about $6.5 million worth of cash or cryptocurrency during the operation, as well as about 500 kilograms of drugs. A little more than half of it in the U.S., including fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and ecstasy. According to the report, 63 firearms were also seized. The suspects had offered their goods not only on Wall Street Market, but also on other trading sites such as AlphaBay and Dream.

With Operation DisrupTor, the online trade of opioids is said to be "significantly gestort" the U.S. Department of Justice now says it is convinced. The operation, he said, underscores that law enforcement has also been able to work together, thanks to "innovative ways" are able to identify handlers in the Darknet and to thwart the criminal machinations. "The golden age of darknet marketplaces is over", Europol is also convinced.

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