On May 3, Europol announced the conclusion of Operation SpecTor, a multinational effort that led to the takedown of the Monopoly Market, a dark market that emerged after the demise of previous ones.
Hundreds arrested and seized
Europol coordinated authorities across several countries including the United States, Switzerland, France, the UK, among others in unraveling the threads of the Monopoly Market’s shutdown in 2021. The operation yielded similar results to the one used to bring down Hansa, where Dutch authorities hijacked the platform and allowed its operation for months before making arrests. In addition to the Monopoly Market arrests, some of the suspects were confirmed to have used other dark markets, suggesting future law enforcement action against similar platforms. A total of €50 million, 850 kg of drugs, 117 firearms, and cryptocurrencies were seized across all jurisdictions.
🚨 288 dark web vendors arrested in major marketplace seizure.
Operation #SpecTor led to the seizure of:
💶 EUR 50.8 million
💊 850 kg of drugs
🔫 117 firearms
The #MonopolyMarket vendors arrested were also active on other illicit marketplaces.
More ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/086e1XMCUo
— Europol (@Europol) May 2, 2023
More results expected
The operation resulted in the arrest of 288 individuals involved in buying and selling contraband, with the majority located in the US. The UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, France, Switzerland, and Poland also arrested several individuals. Europol’s Executive Director Catherine de Bolle said the international community’s law enforcement coalition has never been stronger.
“Our coalition of law enforcement authorities across three continents proves that we all do better when we work together. This operation sends a strong message to criminals on the dark web: international law enforcement has the means and the ability to identify and hold you accountable for your illegal activities, even on the dark web.”
The efficiency of cooperation across jurisdictions is evident in the number of arrests made, which is more than those made in previous operations, DisrupTor, and Dark HunTor. The impressive number of arrests and seizures is attributed to the takedowns of Genesis and Hydra Market, which allegedly pointed to the real identity of some users active on Monopoly Market, according to CNBC.