A joint operation by the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, with support from the U.S. FBI has resulted in the arrest of 288 dark web vendors.
The operation, code-named “SpecTor,” resulted from the previously unknown seizure of a dark web marketplace called Monopoly Market in December 2021.
Monopoly Market was initially a drug-only market, with most online references suggesting that it wasn’t a particularly large site. The site had eight categories, split into benzos, cannabis, dissociatives, ecstasy, pharmaceuticals, psychedelics, steroids, and stimulants.
Some 153 Monopoly Market vendors were arrested in the U.S., followed by 55 in the U.K., 52 in Germany, 10 in the Netherlands, nine in Austria, five in France, two in Switzerland and one each in both Poland and Brazil.
Authorities seized the equivalent of 50.8 million Euros ($55.93 million) in cash and cryptocurrency, 850 kilograms of drugs and 117 firearms. The seized drugs included 258 kilograms of amphetamines, 43 kg of cocaine, 43 kg of MDMA and over 10 kg of LSD and ecstasy pills.
As part of the operation, German police, in conjunction with U.S. law enforcement authorities, also shut down Hydra Market in April 2022. Hydra Market was claimed to have a market share of around 80% at the time, making it the world’s largest dark web marketplace.