Crime & Justice

179 arrests in international dark web drug sting

Washington DC, Sep 22 (efe-epa).- An international coalition of law enforcement agencies have detained 179 people, confiscated $6.5 million in cash and cryptocurrency and seized 500 kilograms of narcotics in an operation against drug dealing on the dark web.

The arrests were made across the United States and Europe, according to statements from the US Department of Justice and Europol.

Around 121 of the arrests were made in the US, while 42 took place in Germany, eight in the Netherlands, four in the United Kingdom, three in Australia, two in Canada and one in Sweden.

The operation was dubbed DisrupTor.

“Criminals selling fentanyl on the Darknet should pay attention to Operation DisrupTor.” US Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a statement.

 “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.”

The dark web is a section of the internet that does not show up in regular search engines and can only be accessed through specific software that hides the location of the user. It is possible to buy drugs and other illicit substances on dark web sites using cryptocurrencies, which are also difficult to trace.

DisrupTor follows on from the successful SaboTor operation last year and the takedown of Wall Street Market, one of the largest illegal e-commerce pages on the dark web.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said: “With the spike in opioid-related overdose deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic, we recognize that today’s announcement is important and timely.

“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.”

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