International sting takes down dark web marketplace

International sting takes down dark web marketplace

Covers nine countries and 288 arrests.

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A nine-country police operation has resulted in the arrest of 288 individuals accused of operating a so-called dark web marketplace.

Europol announced that police had seized “Monopoly Market”, which it accused of facilitating the sale of illicit drugs.

“More than 50.8 million euro (S$75 million) in cash and virtual currencies, 850kg of drugs, and 117 firearms were seized," Europol said. 

“Operation SpecTor” included police action in Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Switzerland.

German police first took control of the market’s infrastructure in December 2021, leading to “hundreds” of national investigations.

There are ongoing investigations which Europol said seek to identify more individuals who own dark web accounts, and since law enforcement has access to vendors’ buying lists, “thousands of customers across the globe are now at risk of prosecution as well.”

Europol is touting SpecTor as the most successful such operation to date, outperforming previous operations DisrupTor in 2020 with 179 arrests, and Dark HunTor in 2021 with 150 arrests.

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