A coalition of law enforcement agencies around the world today announced the results of a joint operation known as DisrupTor that targeted illegal goods suppliers and buyers on the darknet. This activity follows the collapse of the Wall Street Market, then the second largest illegal online market in the dark web, in May of last year.
With the assistance of the Dutch National Police (Politie) Europol, Eurojust and other US government agencies, the German Federal Criminal Police (Bundeskriminalamt) provided investigators with comprehensive data and materials to locate criminals behind the dark web accounts that were used for illegal activity.
As a result, 179 vendors were arrested across Europe and the United States who were involved in tens of thousands of sales of illegal products. In addition to some 500 kilograms of narcotics, including opioids, oxycodone, hydrocodone, methamphetamine, heroin , cocaine, ecstasy, MDMA, and medications containing addictive substances, and 64 weapons, more than $6.5 million were confiscated in both cash and virtual currencies.
Arrests took place in the United States (121), Germany (42), the Netherlands (8), Austria (3), the United Kingdom (4) and Sweden (1). To locate the people behind dark web identities, a variety of inquiries are still underway. Operation Disruptor consisted of a number of independent but related joint operations organized by Europol and Eurojust, both of which were intended to have a worldwide effect on the dark web selling of illegal goods.
This operation resulted from a joint initiative between Austria, Cyprus, Germany , the Netherlands, Sweden , Australia, Canada , the United Kingdom and the United States law enforcement and judicial authorities. Edvardas Šileris, Head of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) of Europol, commenting on this activity, said: “Law enforcement is most effective when working together, and today’s announcement sends a strong message to criminals selling or buying illicit goods on the dark web: the hidden internet is no longer hidden, and your anonymous activity is not anonymous. Law enforcement is committed to tracking down criminals, no matter where they operate – be it on the streets or behind a computer screen.”