Europol announced on May 3 the conclusion of Operation SpecTor, which spans through multiple jurisdictions and recently brought down Monopoly Market, another dark market that sprang up after previous ones were hated.
Hundreds of Arrests and Seizures
According to a press release published early this morning, Europol coordinated authorities across the US, Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Brazil, Switzerland, and the UK to unravel the threads exposed by the 2021 shutdown of Monopoly Market.
The operation yielded similar results to the one used to take down Hansain which Dutch authorities managed to hijack the platform and allowed its operation for several months in order to cast as wide a dragnet as possible.
Furthermore, some of those arrested have been confirmed to be users of other dark markets, hinting at possible future law enforcement action against similar platforms.
In total, 117 firearms, 850 kg worth of drugs, and 50 million euros worth of cash and crypto were seized across all jurisdictions.
🚨 288 dark web vendors arrested in major marketplace seizure.
operation #spector led to the seizure of:
💶 EUR 50.8 million
💊 850 kg of drugs
🔫 117 firearms
The #MonopolyMarket vendors arrested were also active on other illicit marketplaces.
More ⤵️https://t.co/fDbWJbeFiM pic.twitter.com/086e1XMCUo
— Europol (@Europol) May 2, 2023
Authorities Promise Further Results
The operation resulted in the arrest of 288 individuals buying and selling contraband, the overwhelming the majority of which were located in the United States (155). Authorities in the UK and Germany arrested 55 and 52 individuals, respectively, with several more in the Netherlands, Austria, France, Switzerland, and Poland.
Commenting on the situation, Europol’s Executive Director Catherine de Bolle stated that cooperation between members of the international community has never been stronger and will continue to improve in order to yield similar results.
“Our coalition of law enforcement authorities across three continents proves that we all do better when we work together. This operation sends a strong message to criminals on the dark web: international law enforcement has the means and the ability to identify and hold you accountable for your illegal activities, even on the dark web.”
These results show an increased efficiency in cooperation across jurisdictions. Operation SpecTor resulted in more arrests than either of its predecessors, DisrupTor, which resulted in 179 arrests in 2020, and Dark HunTor, which took place in 2021 and resulted in 150 arrests.
According to CNBC, the impressive number of arrests and seizures is partly due to the more recent takedowns of Genesis and Hydra Market, which allegedly pointed to the real identity of some users active on Monopoly Market.
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