International police including the FBI-led Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (JCODE) and Europol have busted a group of 150 alleged darknet drug traffickers, seizing $4.9 million in cryptocurrencies.
The operation dubbed “Operation Dark HunTor” cracked down on criminals who were involved in the sale of tens of thousands of illicit goods and services across Australia, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.
The U.S.-Italian operations seized €3.6 million (US$4.17 million) in cryptocurrencies, while police seized approximately $1 million in drug proceeds that included $700,000 in cryptocurrency.
Overall, Operation Dark HunTor resulted in the seizure of over $31.6 million in both cash and virtual currencies, approximately 234 kilograms of drugs worldwide and 45 firearms.
The U.S. Department of Justice reports darknet vendor accounts were linked to individuals selling illicit goods on active marketplaces, as well as inactive darknet marketplaces such as Dream, WallStreet, White House, DeepSea and Dark Market.
“Criminal darknet markets exist so drug dealers can profit at the expense of others’ safety. The FBI is committed to working with our JCODE and Europol law enforcement partners to disrupt those markets and the borderless, worldwide trade in illicit drugs they enable,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in a statement.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.