Law enforcement agencies from around the world, in a joint effort called SpecTor, have arrested 288 individuals suspected of buying or selling drugs on the dark web. The arrests also resulted in the shutdown of Monopoly Market, a dark web marketplace that had been operational since 2019, where criminals could buy and sell drugs.
Key highlights from the Dark Web Drug Trafficking Operation:
- Global Collaboration: Nine countries, including the US, UK, Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Brazil, and Switzerland, collaborated in the SpecTor operation to crack down on drug trafficking on the dark web. The international effort resulted in the most significant number of arrests and funds seized in any coordinated international action led by the US Justice Department against drug traffickers on the dark web.
- Seizure of Illegal Items: During the operation, authorities seized $53.4 million in cash and digital currencies, 850kg (or 1,873 lbs) of drugs, and 117 firearms worldwide. The illegal items were confiscated from criminal organizations that used the dark web to conduct their operations.
- Monopoly Market Shutdown: Monopoly Market was one of the most prominent dark web marketplaces, providing a hub where criminals could buy and sell drugs. The German authorities had already brought down the site’s criminal infrastructure in 2021, which served as the “basis for hundreds of national investigations.” Law enforcement officials also obtained the buyer lists from the site’s illegal vendors, potentially resulting in “thousands” of more arrests across the world.
The SpecTor operation is an excellent example of international cooperation to combat the growing problem of drug trafficking on the dark web. The operation has dealt a severe blow to the criminal organizations that used Monopoly Market and sends a message to others who engage in illegal activities on the dark web.