Cops Just Revealed a Record-Breaking Dark Web Dragnet (

Cops Just Revealed a Record-Breaking Dark Web Dragnet


Europol simultaneously revealed that German police had taken down the dark web site Monopoly Market, which had gone offline in late 2021 under mysterious circumstances, leaving many of its users to wonder if the markets administrators had pulled an exit scam in which they absconded with users funds.

In Operation SpecTor, investigators appear to have leveraged information obtained through the seizure of Monopolys servers and data from other dark web market takedowns in recent years to find leads on hundreds of the dark webs drug dealersand even customerson an unprecedented scale. This represents the most funds seized and the highest number of arrests in any coordinated international action led by the Department of Justice against drug traffickers on the dark web, US Attorney General Merrick Garland told reporters in a press conference. The Justice Department is cracking down on criminal cryptocurrency transactions and the online criminal marketplaces that enable them.

Along with Monopoly, Operation SpecTor appears to have exploited information obtained in previous dark web takedowns too.

Now, one sprawling set of worldwide takedowns has revealed how those investigators are casting a much wider dragnetone that doesnt merely target dark web administrators, but also mines their databases for leads to relentlessly trace and arrest hundreds of dealers from those markets around the world.

Today, the US Department of Justice, Europol, and a list of law enforcement agencies in at least nine countries from Brazil to Poland revealed Operation SpecTor, a collection of dark web investigations that led to the arrest of 288 people worldwide153 of whom were in the US.

But the Monopoly takedown, in particular, was kept under wraps for well over a year as law enforcement agencies worldwide followed leads from the case A statement from Europol notes that target packages were created by crossmatching and analyzing the collected data and evidence from the seizure of Monopolys infrastructure.

All of that points to law enforcements increasing exploitation of the bonanza of evidence obtained in dark web takedowns.


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