Law enforcement, in cooperation with Europol and nine countries, has taken down the "Monopoly Market" dark web marketplace and apprehended 288 individuals who were involved in buying or selling drugs on the dark web. They have also confiscated more than 50.8 million EUR in cash and virtual currencies, 850 kg of drugs, and 117 firearms. Among the drugs seized were 258 kg of amphetamines, 43 kg of cocaine, 43 kg of MDMA, and over 10 kg of LSD and ecstasy pills.
The operation was called SpecTor and was carried out over an 18-month period. German law enforcement seized the infrastructure supporting the site in 2021 and has been able to gather intelligence that has supported hundreds of global investigations.
Arrests took place in the United States (153), the United Kingdom (55), Germany (52), the Netherlands (10), Austria (9), France (5), Switzerland (2), Poland (1) and Brazil (1). There are still a few investigations ongoing so these numbers will likely rise. Because law enforcement gained access to the underlying infrastructure, they have visibility of all the customer transaction data. Putting thousands of people across the globe at risk of prosecution.
Commenting on Operation SpecTor, Europol’s Executive Director, Catherine De Bolle, said:
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.
Over the last few years, law enforcement has had a steady stream of successful takedowns and arrests. In 2020 their DisrupTor operation had 179 arrests and in 2021, Dark HunTo had 150 arrests and now SpecTor with 288.