Dark Web Marketplaces Shut Down Following Police Operations
Police in Germany seized more than 500,000 euros in cash, as well as Bitcoin and other illicit goods.
Two ‘prolific’ dark web marketplaces have been shut down following operations supported by Europol, the law enforcement agency confirmed.
The Wall Street Market and the Silkkitie, also known as the Valhalla Marketplace, are two of the largest illegal online markets found on the dark web.
The former enabled trade in drugs (including cocaine, heroin and amphetamines), stolen data, fake documents and malicious software. The platform has been exclusively accessible via the Tor network and recently contained more than 63,000 sales offers with more than 5,000 registered sellers.
For payments, users of the online marketplace used cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Monero. Narcotics and other illicit goods have also been available on the Silkkitie marketplace, which is one of the oldest and best-known Tor trade sites.
German law enforcement agencies shut down the Wall Street Market as part of an operation which saw three suspects arrested and more than half-a-million euros in cash seized.
Cryptocurrencies worth a significant sum were also seized during the operation, along with vehicles, computers, storage devices and other forms of evidence. US authorities are reported to have arrested two alleged ‘major’ drug dealers also operating on the site.
Earlier this year, Finnish authorities shut down Silkkitie. Traders operating on the site then moved their activities to another illegal trade site on Tor, Europol confirmed. The movement of traders from Silkkitie was monitored by authorities, the law enforcement agency said, and Finnish authorities are reported to have made a sizeable Bitcoin seizure.
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Europol said it supported a coordinated law enforcement approach across Europe and the US, which was the “key to the success” of the two investigations.
Commenting on the operation’s success, Europol Executive Director Catherine De Bolle said: “These two investigations show the importance of law enforcement cooperation at an international level and demonstrate that illegal activity on the dark web is not as anonymous as criminals may think.”