288 people arrested by Europol in massive dark web crackdown
The items seized by Europol include €50.8 million ($53.4 million) in cash and digital currencies, 850 kilograms (1,870 pounds) of drugs and 117 guns.
Europol said on Tuesday it arrested 288 vendors in the framework of a coordinated operation to seize the "Monopoly Market" dark web marketplace.
The arrests occurred in nine different countries, including in the US (153 arrests), the UK (66 arrests), Germany (52 arrests), the Netherlands (10 arrests), Austria (9 arrests), France (5 arrests), Switzerland (two arrests), Poland and Brazil (one arrest each).
"A number of these suspects were considered high-value targets by Europol," a statement by Europol said.
🚨 288 dark web vendors arrested in major marketplace seizure.— Europol (@Europol) May 2, 2023
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 ⤵️https://t.co/fDbWJbeFiM pic.twitter.com/086e1XMCUo
Among the seized items include €50.8 million ($53.4 million) in cash and digital currencies, 850 kilograms (1,870 pounds) of drugs and 117 guns, the statement noted.
As for the drugs, Europol seized over 258 kilograms of amphetamines, 43 kilograms of cocaine, 43 kilograms of MDMA and over 10 kilograms of LSD and ecstasy pills.
Other investigations are still ongoing to locate other individuals connected to dark web markets, the statement added.
'Super-cartel' controlling a third of Europe's cocaine trade busted
Earlier in November 2022, Europol announced that a large-scale international police operation took down a "super-cartel" that was responsible for more than 30 percent of the cocaine trade in Europe, seizing around 30 tons of the narcotic.
According to a statement released by the EU's police agency, 49 individuals were apprehended in several countries such as Belgium, France, Spain, and the Netherlands, including six main suspects in Dubai, and the cartel was aimed at operations transporting the drug from South America to Europe through Antwerp and Rotterdam ports.
"The drug pins, considered as high-value targets by Europol, had come together to form what was known as a 'super cartel' which controlled around one-third of the cocaine trade in Europe," the Europol statement said at the time.
The operation also brought down an "extremely big fish" based in Dubai and originally from the Netherlands.
Europol also stated that six people linked to the cartel were arrested in France, while ten were apprehended in Belgium and thirteen in Spain.
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