The FBI has seized DeepDotWeb, a comparison search system and news site about dark web markets, accusing the outfit of money laundering.
Police in five countries arrested the alleged operators – including two Israelis and moderators in France, Germany, and the Netherlands – in a sweeping international raid disclosed Tuesday and took down the .com and .onion sites, replacing them with notices of seizure.
The site rose in prominence after larger dark web sites like Silk Road fell to government crackdowns. DeepDotWeb offered a number of services including cryptocurrency news related to privacy and dark web selling. The site also listed dark web markets for buying and selling cryptocurrency.
Archived image of the DeepDotWeb Crypto Market
TechCrunch reports that police arrested the alleged administrator of the site in Brazil.
It’s unclear what the suspects are charged with at this time aside from 18 U.S.C. § 1956, a U.S. anti-money-laundering statute that could carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
CONFIRMED: @DeepDotWeb's all domains seized. (.com and .onion links)
– 2 suspects have been arrested in Ashdod & Tel Aviv (34 & 35 years old).
– Arrests also made in France, Germany, & the Netherlands.
– Another site administrator has been arrested in Brazil. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/CxzJcxyQoG
— Suprateek Bose (@SupraBo_) May 7, 2019
The site was up until May 7 at 5:28 UTC and abruptly shut down as police closed in on the site operators.
The seizure follows the recent arrest of two German nationals who ran Wall Street Markets, which despite the name dealt in illicit goods rather than stocks and bonds.
Image via seized website.