Global ‘dark web’ sting cleans 150 suspects

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Washington – One hundred and fifty people on three continents have been arrested and charged with drug trafficking and other illicit activities as part of a large international law enforcement initiative targeting illegal drug trafficking on the Darknet, announced Tuesday the Ministry of Justice.

Operation Dark HunTor, a collaborative effort between multinational agencies, including the FBI and its counterparts in Australia and Europe, has targeted Darknet drug traffickers and other criminals across Australia, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the US

The Darknet is a part of the Internet which cannot be indexed by search engines and must be accessible through the use of special browsers. Because it is difficult for law enforcement to monitor, websites that sell illegal items or services are proliferating on the Darknet.

Law enforcement has seized more than $ 31.6 million in cash and virtual currencies and approximately 234 kilograms of drugs around the world, including amphetamines, cocaine, opioids and MDMA over the course of the 10 month operation. The Justice Department said investigators also collected more than 200,000 pills of ecstasy, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone and methamphetamine.

Of the hundreds of thousands of pills seized in the United States alone, 90% contained dangerous opioids and counterfeit narcotics, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said on Tuesday when she announced the operation.

“We’re here to expose those looking to use the shadows of their internet to sell killer pills around the world,” Monaco said.

Operation Dark HunTor, which officials say is the largest seizure in the history of multinational Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement, led to the arrest of 65 people in the United States alone, many of whom were accused of drug trafficking containing illicit and dangerous substances.

Texas residents Kevin Olando Ombisi and Eric Bernard Russell Jr are indicted in a 10-count indictment of selling counterfeit drugs, distributing controlled substances and money laundering. They are accused of using the Darkweb to sell and ship the opioid mix to various jurisdictions, including Tennessee, sometimes falsely presenting the dangerous narcotics as more conventional drugs and selling them to customers.

According to court documents, from April 2019 to February 2021, the Texas men used the online nickname “CARDINGMASTER” to distribute pills containing methamphetamine disguised as Adderall in exchange for cryptocurrency. Some of the pills they mailed were embossed with the “AD” recognized by the FDA to resemble the drug made by Teva Pharmaceuticals.

The men had run advertisements for Adderall on the Darknet’s Empire Market, according to an FBI affidavit. “SUPER FAST SHIPPING TO USA * FREE ADDITIONAL PILL PROMO *”, read the promotions. Undercover DEA agents made purchases in the market three times and discovered that the pills, like Adderall, were orange and had markings that appeared to match those found on prescription amphetamines. But DEA testing of the pills revealed that they were not amphetamines, but rather methamphetamines, a controlled schedule II substance, in February. affidavit noted.

Illicit activity on the Darkweb has only increased during the pandemic, as more people use it to access drugs that in many cases contain dangerous levels of deadly substances.

“They now operate in every room, in every home with a smartphone or a computer,” said administrator Anne Milgram. “These are the drugs that are causing the overdose crisis in America.”


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