150 criminals arrested, over $31 million seized in international darknet investigations

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Operation Dark HunTor -150 criminals arrested for selling illegal drugs, good, services on the darknet
Source: DOJ

International law enforcement officials arrested 150 alleged criminals and seized over $31.6 million in a coordinated operation to disrupt the trafficking of opioids on the darknet.

According to the U.S, Department of Justice (DOJ), the arrests were the results of Operation Dark HunTor. The operation was conducted by law enforcement officials in the United States, Europe, and Australia after conducting a 10-month investigation into darknet marketplaces.

Operation DarkHunTor builds on the success of two previous coordinated international law enforcement operations. Last year, Operation DisrupTor resulted in the arrests of 179 darknet drug traffickers, and seizures of $6.5 million in cash and virtual currencies, and approximately 500 kilograms of drugs. Earlier this year, international law enforcement authorities took down DarkMarket, the largest illegal marketplace worldwide at the time. German authorities led the arrests of DarkMarket’s alleged operator and seized the website’s infrastructure, which provided investigators worldwide with a trove of evidence.

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After the DarkMarket takedown, international law enforcement agencies identified darknet drug traffickers and buyers and conducted a series of complementary but separate investigations–Operation Dark HunTor.

Operation Dark HunTor resulted in the arrests of 150 alleged drug traffickers and other criminals in the United States (65), Germany (47), United Kingdom (24), Netherlands (4), Italy (4), France (3) Switzerland (2), and Bulgaria (2).

The operation also resulted in the seizure of more than $31.6 million in cash and virtual currencies, approximately 234 kilograms of drugs including 152.1 kg of amphetamine, 21.6 kg of cocaine, 26.9 kg of opioids, 32.5 kg of MDMA. More than 200,000 ecstasy, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methamphetamine pills, and counterfeit medicines were also sequestered.

Law enforcement authorities also seized 45 firearms. A number of investigations are ongoing.

International law enforcement agencies will continue to take down darknet marketplaces

In a statement, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said,  “Operation Dark HunTor prevented countless lives from being lost to this dangerous trade in illicit and counterfeit drugs because one pill can kill. The Department of Justice with our international partners will continue to crack down on lethal counterfeit opioids purchased on the Darknet.”

On the other hand, Europol’s Deputy Executive Director of Operations Jean-Philippe Lecouffe said, “The point of operations such as the one today is to put criminals operating on the dark web on notice: the law enforcement community has the means and global partnerships to unmask them and hold them accountable for their illegal activities, even in areas of the dark web.”

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