The US and Europe jointly succeeded in dismantling the dark web marketplace, Monopoly Market, and arrested 288 suspected criminals.

The United States and various European countries collaborated in a joint effort to combat dark web crimes, leading to the successful takedown of a drug trafficking dark web marketplace called Monopoly Market. A total of 288 sellers and buyers were apprehended in this operation, named “Operation SpecTor,” which was an international enforcement action spanning three continents. The investigation for this operation was initiated based on the discovery of Monopoly Market infrastructure in Germany at the end of 2021. Following extensive cross-referencing and analysis of hundreds of leads, the authorities announced the successful dismantling of this dark web market and the arrest of its sellers and buyers earlier this week.

In this operation, participating countries included the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Brazil, Poland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Austria, among others. As of now, 153 individuals have been arrested in the United States, 55 in the United Kingdom, 52 in Germany, and 10 in the Netherlands. Additionally, Monopoly Market buyers and sellers have also been arrested in Austria, France, Switzerland, Poland, and Brazil. It is reported that there are still thousands of buyers worldwide under investigation and facing prosecution.

This operation marks the largest crackdown on dark web crime in which over $50 million in cash and cryptocurrency, as well as 850 kilograms of drugs, have been seized. The success of this operation demonstrates the growing global effort to combat dark web crime, but it also serves as a reminder of the threats posed by the existence of these underground markets to society and individuals. As a result, governments and relevant agencies need to continue strengthening regulation and enforcement against dark web crime. Public awareness and education on cybersecurity should be enhanced to empower people with the knowledge and skills to protect themselves online. This operation also sends a strong message to criminals that, no matter how deeply they hide on the internet, they cannot escape the consequences of their actions under the law.