A massive international operation has brought down one of the largest dark web drug marketplaces in the world! The SpecTor operation led by US, British, Brazilian and European law enforcement agencies has resulted in the arrest of 288 suspects and the seizure of over $54 million in cash and virtual currency. The operation also netted almost a tonne of drugs and 117 firearms.
The international police have arrested 288 suspects involved in buying or selling drugs on the dark web. The operation called SpecTor by US, British, Brazilian and European law enforcement also netted almost a tonne of drugs and 117 firearms. The largest number of arrests were made in the United States with 153, Britain 55, Germany 52 and the Netherlands, 10. One suspect was also arrested in Brazil. The US Justice Department said several suspects have already been convicted or were being prosecuted following Operation SpecTor – which it described as the “largest international operation against darknet trafficking of fentanyl and opioids”. This included a Florida man who was sentenced to 16 years in December on drug possession and distribution charges, the DOJ said in a statement. Police also recovered $53.4 million in cash and virtual currency and seized 850 kilos of drugs, mainly amphetamines and opioids, Europol and the DOJ added.
“Our coalition of law enforcement authorities across three continents proves that we all do better when we work together,” Europol’s director Catherine De Bolle said. “This operation sends a strong message to criminals on the dark web: international law enforcement has the means and the ability to identify and hold you accountable for your illegal activities,” she added.
The intelligence gathered during this operation helped police to start new investigations “as well as enriching current probes.” “We published a list on the dark net containing all the nicknames of the arrested sellers,” said Dutch cybercrime police team leader Nan van de Coevering. “Buyers know they cannot trust the sellers on the list,” she added.
Operation SpecTor comes in the wake of last month’s takedown of the world’s largest online marketplace selling stolen identities and passwords on the open web. Led by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Dutch police, the operation called “Cookie Monster” saw 119 suspects arrested and involved 17 countries across the world.
Previous operations targeting marketplaces on the dark web included “DisrupTor” in 2020 and “Dark HunTor” in 2021 leading to more than 320 arrests.