Dark Web Drug Busts Leads to 150 Arrests


“Operation Dark HunTor was launched with a clear purpose: to find the sellers, buyers, and suppliers hiding on that site and make sure they don’t find a new platform,” according to deputy attorney general Lisa Monaco at a press conference Tuesday.

Not all arrests appear to track directly or exclusively back to the removal of DarkMarket; Court documents show that in many cases, suspicious packages provide an initial tipoff. And past attacks like the Hansa and Wall Street Market are likely to still pay dividends for investigators. That also means that Operation Dark HunTor is likely not the last word in dark web arrests and illegal market vendors should proceed with a little caution.

“Now I think some of them, maybe they’re a little worried about who will be on the list, the next ones,” Europol deputy executive director Jean-Philippe Lecouffe told a press conference on Tuesday. “Some investigations are still going on in some of the countries you see here because there are people who know, and the task will follow. Every time we arrest people, every time we look for a home, we will see new leads for new investigations.

While the markets appeared like weeds — the famous AlphaBay was recently revived by DeSnake, one of its original administrators — it may be harder to get vendors or jail.

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In good faith of the FBI

“Markets are easy to replace because all it takes is a different website to move,” Christin said. “On the other hand, large vendors ship physical products and need to have access to upstream supply, so it takes longer to replace them … A vendor can’t just start selling thousands of ecstasy pills all night but can move from one market to another within minutes. ”

However, it is unclear if even 150 arrests will be enough to slow things down. As Monaco said on Tuesday, the dark web drug racket was already a billion-dollar industry before the pandemic took it to new heights. Demand has not disappeared, and suppliers will definitely try, at the very least, to meet it.

“If they catch some of the most reputable vendors, it might have a small impact,” Christin said. “In the long term, I’m more skeptical. Often, the ecosystem as a whole has shown resilience to police intervention.”


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