As part of an international operation called Dark HunTOR, law enforcement arrested the administrators of Deep Sea Market, Berlusconi Market, and 150 vendors.
This will surely produce countless news articles in the future. Interesting how quickly they caught the administrators of DeepSea. The Italian Guardia di Finanza launched an investigation into the DeepSea suspects in July 2020, according to their own announcement.
Police forces across the world have arrested 150 alleged suspects involved in buying or selling illicit goods on the dark web as part of a coordinated international operation involving nine countries.
More than €26.7 million (USD 31 million) in cash and virtual currencies have been seized in this operation, as well as 234 kg of drugs and 45 firearms. The seized drugs include 152 kg of amphetamine, 27 kg of opioids and over 25 000 ecstasy pills.
This operation, known as Dark HunTOR, was composed of a series of separate but complementary actions in Australia, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, with coordination efforts led by Europol and Eurojust.
Operation Dark HunTOR stems from the takedown earlier this year of DarkMarket, the world’s then-largest illegal marketplace on the dark web. At the time, German authorities arrested the marketplace’s alleged operator and seized the criminal infrastructure, providing investigators across the world with a trove of evidence. Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) has since been compiling intelligence packages to identify the key targets.
As a result, 150 vendors and buyers who engaged in tens of thousands of sales of illicit goods were arrested across Europe and the United States. A number of these suspects were considered as High-Value Targets by Europol.
These arrests took place in the United States (65), Germany (47), the United Kingdom (24), Italy (4), the Netherlands (4), France (3), Switzerland (2) and Bulgaria (1). A number of investigations are still ongoing to identify additional individuals behind dark web accounts.
In the framework of this operation the Italian authorities also shut down the DeepSea and Berlusconi dark web marketplaces, which together boasted over 100 000 announcements of illegal products. Four administrators were arrested, and €3.6 million in cryptocurrencies seized.
Might have buried the lede a bit by highlighting the vendor arrests instead of the DeepSea bust.
The investigation, launched in July 2020, made it possible to identify in the province of Modena a subject active in the recycling of cryptocurrencies as well as the creator and creator of a Black Market of the Dark Web, called DeepSea, and to bring him under arrest together to another subject.
During the operation, Bitcoin (BTC) and Monero (XMR) were also seized, for a value of approximately 3.6 million euros, n. 3 luxury cars for about 370,000 Euros, n. 9 branded watches for around 90,000 euros, as well as various computer devices used to commit the crimes.
The personal computers, notebooks and smartphones seized during the operation were examined according to the best forensic analysis techniques to reconstruct both the illegal activities carried out through the Black Market and the movements of virtual currency connected to illegal exchanges made with the platform. Bitcoins and Monero are in fact the virtual currencies very widespread in the world of illegality connected to illicit trafficking in the Dark Web and to the activities of laundering “dirty money”, activities capable of making earnings of thousands of euros per month.