A vast operation targeting criminals of the “dark web”, a hidden part of the internet, has led to the arrest of 179 suspected sellers across Europe and the United States, the European police agency Europol announced on Tuesday.
US law enforcement has arrested 121 people, while other suspects have been apprehended in Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden, Europol said in a statement.
According to The Hague-based agency, the suspects were engaged in tens of thousands of sales of illicit products on the “dark web”, which is teeming with illegal activity.
The operation, in which various US government agencies including the FBI were involved, resulted in the seizure of more than US $ 6.5 million in cash and virtual currencies.
Police also seized some 500 kilos of drugs, including fentanyl, oxycodone and heroin, as well as around 60 firearms, said Europol, which coordinated the operation with the unit. European Judicial Cooperation Eurojust.
This announcement “sends a strong message” to criminals active on the “dark web”, believes Edvardas Sileris, head of the European Cybercrime Center at Europol.
“The hidden internet is no longer hidden and your anonymous activity is not anonymous. Law enforcement is determined to hunt down criminals no matter where they operate – whether it is on the street or behind a computer screen, ”Sileris said in the statement.