crypto played a major role in the takedown of the illegal dark web marketplace called “Monopoly Market,” as Europol, the US Department of Justice, and nine countries joined forces to arrest 288 suspects involved in drug trafficking.
The operation, called SpecTor, resulted in the confiscation of more than 100 types of firearms, 850 kg (1,873.94 lbs) of drugs, and over EUR 50.8 million (USD $55.69 million) in cash and cryptocurrencies, according to an official press release.
The success of SpecTor highlights the growing capacity of international law enforcement agencies to crack down on illegal activities on the dark web, particularly those involving cryptocurrency transactions.
‘Operation SpecTor’ Leads To Unprecedented crypto Seizure, Arrests
Using information obtained from previous dark web market takedowns and Monopoly’s seized servers, SpecTor investigators were able to track down hundreds of drug dealers and customers involved in the illegal activities.
According to US Attorney General Merrick Garland, the operation has resulted in the highest number of arrests and the most funds seized in any international action led by the Department of Justice against drug traffickers on the dark web.
The crackdown on criminal cryptocurrency transactions and online marketplaces facilitating illegal activities is expected to continue.
Europol Leads Major Int’l Operation To Arrest Cybercriminals
Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting cryptocurrencies as they remain largely unregulated and decentralized, offering an attractive opportunity for quick profit. The value of cryptocurrencies has been rising, creating a greater incentive for hackers to steal them.
Tracing cryptocurrency was reportedly used in broadening the scope of such operations. Following the seizure of databases containing transaction records from dark web takedowns, crypto tracers are able to use the information as a basis to track the flow of funds across different blockchains and eventually identify exchanges where proceeds from illegal drug sales are converted into cash.
These exchanges can be subpoenaed to provide user data, aiding in the identification of criminals.
BTC/USD nearing the $29,000 level on the daily chart at TradingView.com
Multi-Nation Arrests Of Dark Web Criminals: Investigations Ongoing
The aforementioned 288 vendors and buyers were arrested across Europe, the US, and Brazil, as they were involved in tens of thousands of sales of illicit goods. Several high-value targets were among the suspects arrested by Europol.
Investigations to identify more individuals behind the dark web accounts are still ongoing, indicating that there may be more arrests to come.
The successful operation marks a major blow to dark web criminal networks, and authorities hope that it will deter others from engaging in such illicit activities.
-Featured image from Research Leap
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