SAN ANTONIO, Texas The Department of Joint Justice on Opioids and Dark Network Enforcement along with the European Union Law Enforcement Cooperation Agency announced Tuesday the culmination of agencies’ efforts to curb opioid trafficking in the dark network.
The international law enforcement operation, known as Operation Dark HunTor, was carried out across the United States, Australia and Europe, and led to the arrest of 150 suspected drug traffickers in the dark web and the seizure of about 234 kilograms of drugs, 45 firearms and over $ 31.6. millions both in cash and in virtual currencies. Operation Dark HunTor was a continuation of similar international law enforcement operations targeting dark-web drug traffickers from this year and last year, according to the Department of Justice.
This massive 10-month international law enforcement operation spanned three continents and involved dozens of U.S. and international law enforcement agencies to send a clear message to those hiding in the dark web selling illicit drugs: no there is dark internet, said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. in a written statement.
We can and will shed light. Operation Dark HunTor prevented the loss of countless lives in this dangerous trade of illicit and counterfeit drugs because one pill could kill. The Department of Justice with our international partners will continue to crack down on deadly counterfeit opioids purchased in the dark web.
Domestic and international law enforcement agencies identified drug traffickers and buyers in the dark network through previous criminal operations, resulting in arrests in Australia, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK, and law enforcement agents. of law in the US and Italy were also shut down. a pair of obscure internet markets boasting over 40,000 ads of illegal products that led to the arrest of four alleged administrators and 3.6 million cryptocurrencies seized in separate but jointly coordinated US-Italian operations.
In total, Operation Dark HunTor led to the seizure of about 152 kilograms of amphetamine, 22 kilograms of cocaine, 27 kilograms of opioids, 33 kilograms of MDMA and more than 200,000 ecstasy pills, fentanyl, oxycodone, medications, hydrompet. . In addition, the operation led to the arrest of 65 criminal actors in the US, 47 in Germany, 24 in the UK, four in the Netherlands and Italy, three in France, two in Switzerland and one in Bulgaria, although more could be added. as investigations are ongoing.
The men and women of the Criminal Division departments, in close collaboration with our team of inter-institutional and international partners, are ready to use all our resources to protect our communities by pursuing those who benefit from addiction, under the false belief that they are anonymous in the dark network, said in a written statement Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. Only through an all-government and, in this case, global approach to tackling cyber-enabled drug trafficking can we hope to achieve the significant results illustrated in Operation Dark HunTor.
The dark network vendors were also identified by selling illegal goods in inactive markets such as Dream, WallStreet, White House, DeepSea and Dark Market, Justice Department officials said in a statement. Operation Dark HunTor was built on the actions taken by law enforcement forces in January 2021 in removing DarkMarket and Operation DisrupTor in recent years.
Criminal groups in 16 countries were targeted in a similar international operation in June, TWN previously reported. In that case, criminal actors were targeted for years under the guise of a secure smartphone-based messaging app known as ANOM, leading to over 800 arrests and the seizure of over eight tonnes of cocaine, 22 tonnes of cannabis and cannabis resin, two tons. synthetic drugs, six tons of synthetic drug precursors, 250 firearms, 55 luxury vehicles and over $ 48 million in various currencies and cryptocurrencies worldwide.
Today, we face new and increasingly dangerous threats as drug traffickers expand into the digital world and use the dark network to sell dangerous drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine, said in a written statement Administrator Anne Milgram Drug Enforcement.
These drug traffickers are flooding the United States with deadly, fake pills, fueling the U.S. overdose crisis, fueling violence, and threatening the safety and health of American communities. The message of the DEA today is clear: criminal drug networks operating in the dark network, trying to hide from law enforcement, can no longer be hidden. The DEA, the U.S. inter-institutional agency, and our valued international partners, are committed to dismantling drug networks wherever they are, including the dark network.
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