Powder, go! The US Department of Justice reported on the completion of a large-scale operation to distribute drugs through the dark web
Through the joint efforts of states from three different continents, they managed to make about 300 arrests and seize almost a ton of prohibited substances.
Yesterday the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that almost 300 people were arrested in a record-breaking international drug operation targeting fentanyl and opioid traffickers on the dark web.
Law enforcement agencies made 288 arrests and seized 117 illegal firearms, 850 kilograms of illegal substances, including 54 kilograms of pure fentanyl and other substances laced with it. It also seized $53.4 million in cash and digital currencies. The number of arrests and confiscations exceeded any previous such operation, according to Justice Department officials.
The Justice Department said the operation, called SpecTor, was conducted in the United States, Europe and South America. In the United States alone, authorities made 153 arrests, confiscated 104 illegal weapons, and seized more than 200,000 pills, including those containing fentanyl.
“Operation SpecTor was a coordinated international law enforcement operation spanning three continents to crack down on drug trafficking on the dark web. It marks the largest amount of funds seized and the largest number of arrests compared to any other coordinated international operation previously conducted by the Department of Justice against drug dealers on the dark web,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“Our message to criminals on the dark web is that you can try to hide in the furthest corners of the internet, but the Justice Department will find you and hold you accountable for your crimes,” Garland added.
The operation was directed against individuals who were suspected of selling illegal substances over the Internet. And in most cases, the circulation of illicit substances on the dark web occurs with the help of cryptocurrency, so such transactions are more difficult to track.
“The Darknet is not just a marketplace for illegal and dangerous drugs. It is also a one-stop-shop for just about every type of criminal product or service that exists, from stolen internet credentials to child sexual abuse material, fake passports, computer hacking tools, and more,” said Paul Abbate, Associate Director FBI.
Asked if the Justice Department sees a reduction in online drug dealing, Garland told reporters that any disruption to criminal activity after major law enforcement action has a temporary effect, as criminals eventually reorganize anyway. However, it is pointless to deny the unprecedented benefits of such operations, and with each such success, the world is moving closer to the extermination of the underground trade in illicit goods.