288 arrests made in international drug takedown

Lawyer Normal Merrick Garland speaks throughout a information convention on the Justice Division in Washington, Friday, April 14, 2023, on vital worldwide drug trafficking enforcement motion.

Susan Walsh | AP

A consortium of U.S. and worldwide legislation enforcement made 288 arrests and seized over $53 million in money and crypto as a part of a dark-web drug “unprecedented” enforcement motion referred to as Operation SpecTor, Lawyer Normal Merrick Garland mentioned in a press convention Tuesday.

“The Justice Division is cracking down on felony cryptocurrency transactions,” Garland mentioned, “and the net felony marketplaces that allow them.”

Dozens of firearms and greater than 850 kilograms of medicine had been additionally seized in Operation SpecTor, an allusion to the dark-web looking protocol. The operation was coordinated alongside Europol and resulted within the seizure of a dark-web market referred to as Monopoly Market, in keeping with a press launch from the European company.

The operation started in Oct. 2021, Garland mentioned.

The Justice Division mentioned over 100 federal operations and prosecutions had been made within the U.S. Garland mentioned 153 home suspects had been arrested, together with a California man who allegedly offered practically $2 million value of fentanyl and methamphetamine on the darkish internet.

German police first seized {the marketplace}’s on-line infrastructure in Dec. 2021, and labored alongside Europol and worldwide legislation enforcement businesses to focus on “high-value targets” who offered medication and illicit items all over the world.

SpecTor is a continuation of the identical efforts that disrupted darknet market Hydra in 2022 and on-line identity-theft website Genesis Market in 2023.

“Our message to criminals on the darkish internet is that this: You’ll be able to attempt to conceal within the furthest reaches of the web, however the Justice Division will discover you and maintain you accountable on your crimes,” Garland mentioned in a press release.

Brokers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Inner Income Service’s felony investigative crew had been concerned. Legislation enforcement from Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland and the UK had been additionally concerned.

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