According to Europol, investigators in nine countries have uncovered an illegal market for drugs on the Internet and arrested 288 suspects. They either sold or bought drugs on "Monopoly Market", the police authority Europol in The Hague announced on Tuesday. Almost 51 million euros in cash or cryptocurrencies were confiscated, as well as 850 kilos of drugs such as MDMA, cocaine, amphetamines and 117 firearms.
According to Europol, it was one of the most successful actions against illegal trade on the so-called dark web. As the name suggests, the Darknet or Darkweb is a dark, hidden network, closed websites that can only be found using a specific browser.
Investigators in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Poland, the Netherlands, Great Britain, the USA and Brazil were involved in the operation, code-named "SpecTor". 52 people were arrested in Germany.
According to Europol, the investigations were set in motion by a German success. Authorities had therefore gathered a large amount of evidence when they dug up the infrastructure of the sales exchange in December 2021. Europol experts analyzed the data and made international connections visible. This led to hundreds of national investigations.
According to Europol, the drug sellers were also active on other illegal marketplaces. Through their arrest, numerous other illegal transactions were stopped. In addition, investigators would also have access to buyer lists. Thousands of customers are now threatened with prosecution, Europol said.
Communication from Europol