A joint operation named the DisrupTor carried out by different international law enforcement agencies has led to the arrest of 179 suspects who use the dark web to buy and sell illicit drugs.
According to a press release today, the DisrupTor operation was largely coordinated by the European law enforcement agency, Europol, and was aimed at mitigating the sale of illicit substances on the dark web.
Even though the European law enforcement agency coordinated the initiative, the security outfit revealed that the operation was successful due to a collaborative effort among security operatives in the United Kingdom and the United States’ Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (JCODE).
Edvardas Šileris, the Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), commented on the development:
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.
During the operation, the security agents seized over $6.5 million worth of fiat and cryptocurrencies, alongside 500 kilograms of hard drugs, including fentanyl, oxycodone, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, MDMA, and medicine containing addictive substances.
Also, a total of 64 firearms were seized during the operation, the report stated.
Per the release, the highest number of arrests was made in the U.S. where a total of 121 suspects were caught, with 42 people arrested in Germany, eight in the Netherlands, four arrests in the U.K., three in Austria, one suspect was arrested in Sweden, and two arrests in Canada at the request of the U.S. authorities.
The act of utilizing cryptocurrencies to conduct illicit activities over the dark web is not new, as more reports keep surfacing.
Perpetrators of the act believe that the anonymous feature of cryptocurrencies may provide them with the needed cover for their shady activities, but in most cases, these deals have gone sour.
Earlier this year, Coinfomania reported that Ireland Authorities disclosed that it seized $73 million worth of cryptocurrencies used in criminal activities like drug trafficking, and money laundering in 2019.
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