Europol announced on Tuesday that a “dark web” marketplace has been shut down following a multi-continental crackdown, leading to the arrest of 288 suspects and the recovery of over $54.8 million in cash and virtual currency.
The operation, called Spector, was a collaboration between law enforcement agencies from the US, UK, Brazil, and Europe. In addition to the arrests and financial recovery, the police also seized nearly a ton of drugs and 117 firearms.
Hague-based Europol said in a statement:
In an operation coordinated by Europol and involving nine countries, law enforcement have seized the illegal dark web marketplace ‘Monopoly Market’ and arrested 288 suspects involved in buying or selling drugs on the dark web. A number of these suspects were considered high-value targets.
This action followed a previous successful operation in 2021 by German police, which led to the seizure of the Monopoly Market’s criminal infrastructure.
Based on extensive evidence provided by German authorities, Europol created target packages through cross-matching and analyzing collected data. These packages served as the foundation for numerous national investigations.
The results of these investigations led to the arrest of 288 vendors and buyers who participated in tens of thousands of sales of illegitimate goods across Europe, Britain, the United States, and Brazil.
According to Europol, the highest number of arrests were made in the United States with 153, followed by Britain with 55, Germany with 52, and the Netherlands with 10.