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Darknet Bust seized Millions in Crypto, Cash and Drugs

The US DOJ has announced the results of a darknet market bust. Law enforcement has arrested 179 people and apprehended $6.5 million in crypto and cash, 500 kilograms of drugs, and 63 firearms.

In the project named “Operation Disruptor, law enforcement has used the information obtained from the takedown of the darknet market, Wall Street Market, in May of 2019, to track the criminals. The project collaborates with Europol and DOJ’s Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement team (JCODE).

Trailing the threads from the seized data, the two agencies have apprehended the drug dealers. They have taken $6.5 million in crypto and cash, 500 kg of drugs – 274kg of it was captured in the US along with 63 guns. The authorities have arrested 123 North Americans, involving two from Canada, and other 58 from Europe, while in Germany, police have arrested 42.

The arrested individuals have sold drugs on different darknet marketplaces, including AlphaBay, empire, and DeepSea. The other darknets that were listed by the DOJ have shut down ever since.

While the investigations are happening, several of those who are arrested have pleaded guilty. Mark Chavez of downtown Los Angeles and Teresa McGrath from Sunland-Tujunga has pleaded guilty to trafficking drugs and face prison sentences for 15 years.

“Criminals selling fentanyl on the Darknet should pay attention to Operation DisrupTor,” stated Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. “The arrest of 179 of them in seven countries—with the seizure of their drug supplies and their money as well—shows that there will be no safe haven for drug dealing in cyberspace.”

A pseudonymous journalist was covering darknet markets, DarkDotFail, said that the DOJ had overplayed the bust’s importance.

They have tweeted recently, “International law enforcement coordinated for nine months to seize less firearms than at a Trump rally, less money than HSBC launders in a day.”

Market data from Chainalysis shows that about $4 million worth of Bitcoin came from darknet markets in the last week. Adding to this, darknet services and other users are holding 512,892 Bitcoin, or $5 billion. This is 1000x greater than the authorities seized in operation.

“It’s safe to assume many of these people didn’t encrypt their shipping addresses, were low hanging fruit for [law enforcement] to call [it] a huge ‘operation’,” tweeted DarkDotFail.

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