• Thu. Aug 17th, 2023

Hundreds of Darknet Drug Dealers Arrested by Europol in Connection With the Monopoly Market

Jun 23, 2023
Europol arrests hundreds in Monopoly Market bust
David Brown

SpecTor,” an international operation aimed at cracking down on the illegal activities of the “Monopoly Market,” a darknet marketplace specializing in drug and firearms sales, led to the arrest of 288 darknet merchants and customers and the seizure of €50.8 million in cash and cryptocurrencies. 

Launched in 2019, Monopoly Market was closed down by German authorities in 2021 and later used to gather evidence about sellers and buyers. 

What is Europol

Europol is an organization created by the European Union to aid member states in their efforts to combat terrorism and serious international crimes. It collaborates with national police and law enforcement organizations to exchange information, conduct investigations, and offer operational assistance, expertise, and education. 

Its primary aim is to enhance public safety in Europe by preventing and fighting organized and severe criminal activity.

The Investigation and Criminal Charges

Data from Europol indicated that Monopoly Market vendors were active on other darknet markets, making their arrests significant in disrupting illegal trade on the dark web. In addition to the arrests, law enforcement confiscated 850 kg of drugs and 117 firearms during the operation. 

Most of the individuals arrested were located in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany, with smaller numbers in the Netherlands and Austria. The operation was coordinated by Europol and the FBI and involved police officers from several countries. 

The closure of Monopoly Market and the arrests of its users should serve as a warning to other darknet marketplaces that law enforcement agencies are taking significant steps to combat illegal activities and bring those involved to justice.

The main reason for these arrests is the irresponsible attitude towards data security. Most of the forums are being monitored by the authorities, which is why many dark web users utilize encrypted bbforum, where all data, including messages, automatically deletes after 30 days. Moreover, the forum never leaks data to any third-party services.