179 arrested in Europol’s “Operation DisrupTor” global operation targeting dark web marketplace buyers and sellers
If you have bought and sold anything on dark web hacker forums in the past few days, it is time to wipe your hard disk clean. Europol collaborated with multiple law enforcement agencies around the world and arrested nearly 179 individuals who had in the past bought and sold goods and services on the dark web marketplaces.
The joint collaboration between Europol, Dutch Police, FBI, German Federal Police, and UK National Criminal Agency is called Operation DisrupTor. Operation DistrupTor was launched in 2019 when Europol decided to investigate a dark web marketplace called the Wall Street Market. The year-long investigation resulted in the closure of Wall Street Market and gave the law enforcement agencies access to identities thousands of buyers and sellers who frequent dark web marketplaces like AlphaBay, Dark Market, Empire, White House, among others.
The law enforcement agencies used this data to identify the buyers and sellers and arrested everyone who had made a purchase or sold any product/service on these dark web marketplaces. Most of the arrests occurred in the United States (121), followed by Germany (42), as well as other arrests in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Austria, and Sweden.
Europol said that those arrested were involved in the sale of illegal products and services such as drugs, weapons, software, hacking devices, etc. The Europol also confiscated large quantities of drugs and other products, They were also able to seize a total of $6.5 million in cash and cryptocurrency during the operation.
Europol says this is a major victory for law enforcement agencies in their fight against the dark web marketplaces. “The golden age of illegal trade in the dark web is over. Operations like this show the ability of law enforcement to counter the encryption and anonymity provided by these platforms.”
“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,” Europol said in a statement today. “Law enforcement is committed to tracking down criminals, no matter where they operate – be it on the streets or behind a computer screen.”
Europol says they are still in the process of identifying more dark web market place users and more arrests will be made in the future.