International Law Enforcement Operation Targeting Opioid Traffickers on the Darknet Results in 150 Arrests Worldwide and the Seizure of Weapons, Drugs, and over $31 Million
US Department of Justice
Today, the Department of Justice, through the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (JCODE) team joined Europol to announce the results of Operation Dark HunTor, a coordinated international effort on three continents to disrupt opioid trafficking on the Darknet. The operation, which was conducted across the United States, Australia, and Europe, was a result of the continued partnership between JCODE and foreign law enforcement against the illegal sale of drugs and other illicit goods and services. Operation Dark HunTor builds on the success of last year’s Operation DisrupTor and the coordinated law enforcement takedown earlier this year of DarkMarket, the world’s then-largest illegal marketplace on the Darknet. At the time, German authorities arrested the marketplace’s alleged operator and seized the site’s infrastructure, providing investigators across the world with a trove of evidence. Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and JCODE have since been compiling intelligence packages to identify key targets.
Following the DarkMarket takedown in January 2021, U.S. and international law enforcement agencies identified Darknet drug vendors and buyers, resulting in a series of complementary, but separate, law enforcement investigations. Operation Dark HunTor actions have resulted in the arrest of 150 alleged Darknet drug traffickers and other criminals who engaged in tens of thousands of sales of illicit goods and services across Australia, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Prior to, but in support of Operation Dark HunTor, Italian authorities also shut down the DeepSea and Berlusconi dark web marketplaces which boasted over 40,000 advertisements of illegal products. Four alleged administrators were arrested, and €3.6 million in cryptocurrencies were seized in coordinated U.S.-Italian operations.