- An international police sting targeting dark web sellers has led to 179 arrests.
- A total of 500 kilograms of drugs, $6.5 million, and 64 firearms were seized.
- FBI Director Chris Wray said the bust came at a critical time, as the pandemic has come with a spike in opioid overdoses.
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An international police sting has led to the arrest of almost 180 dark web vendors.
Called Operation DisrupTor, the sting was led by Germany's Federal Criminal Police but also involved US law enforcement agencies including the FBI, Europol, and the Dutch National Police.
A total of 179 arrests were carried out, with 121 taking place in the US. The rest were distributed across Europe, though the majority of these (42) happened in Germany.
According to Europol's press release over $6.5 million in cash and virtual currencies was seized, along with 500 kilograms of various drugs including heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, MDMA, fentanyl, and methamphetamine. Police also seized 64 firearms as part of the operation.
"Operation DisrupTor took place at a particularly critical time, as our country has seen a sharp rise in overdoses associated with potent narcotics during this pandemic," FBI director Christopher Wray said in a statement.
Wray said that in one case 11 kilograms of suspected fentanyl were seized in a small town in Ohio. "Just two milligrams of pure fentanyl is considered a lethal dose. So that means that one 11-kilogram seizure equates to about 5.5 million lethal doses of fentanyl being taken off the streets of American communities, where the impacts could have been devastating.
"Law enforcement is most effective when working together, and today's announcement sends a strong message to criminals selling or buying illicit goods on the dark web: the hidden internet is no longer hidden, and your anonymous activity is not anonymous," Edvardas Šileris, head of Europol's European Cybercrime Center, said in a statement.
DisrupTor was the successor to another dark web takedown last year that targeted dark web marketplace Wall Street Market.