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Opioid Drugs

DOJ Takes Down Network of Darknet Opioid Distributors

— October 5, 2020

The DOJ makes hundreds of arrests in worldwide illegal opioid take down.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that 179 individuals were arrested and more than $6.5 million in funds was confiscated in a worldwide bust on darknet opioid trafficking.  An estimated 500 kilograms of drugs were also seized, including 275 kilograms fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and other opioids in the U.S.  Operation DisrupTor arrests included 121 in the U.S., two in Canada, 42 in Germany, eight in the Netherlands, four in the United Kingdom, three in Australia and one in Sweden, the DOJ reported.

Underground operations often use the darknet to buy and sell illegal good and services.  This is an encrypted network and accessible only through specialized anonymity-providing tools, making it easy to hide black markets from view.

“Criminals selling fentanyl on the Darknet should pay attention to Operation DisrupTor,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.  “The arrest of 179 of them in seven countries – with the seizure of their drug supplies and their money as well – shows that there will be no safe haven for drug dealing in cyberspace.”

DOJ Takes Down Network of Darknet Opioid Distributors
Photo by Rmai Al Zayat on Unsplash

“With the spike in opioid-related overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that today’s announcement is important and timely,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.  “The FBI wants to assure the American public, and the world, that we are committed to identifying Darknet drug dealers and bringing them to justice.  But our work does not end with today’s announcement.  The FBI, through JCODE and our partnership with Europol, continues to be actively engaged in a combined effort to disrupt the borderless, worldwide trade of illicit drugs. The FBI will continue to use all investigative techniques and tools to identify and prosecute Darknet opioid dealers, wherever they may be located.”

“The 21st century has ushered in a tidal wave of technological advances that have changed the way we live,” said DEA Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea.  “But as technology has evolved, so too have the tactics of drug traffickers.  Riding the wave of technological advances, criminals attempt to further hide their activities within the dark web through virtual private networks and tails, presenting new challenges to law enforcement in the enduring battle against illegal drugs.  Operation DisrupTor demonstrates the ability of DEA and our partners to outpace these digital criminals in this ever-changing domain, by implementing innovative ways to identify traffickers attempting to operate anonymously and disrupt these criminal enterprises.”

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has played an integral role in Operation DisrupTor which has effectively removed opioids from our communities,” said ICE Acting Deputy Director Derek Benner.  “It has been an honor to work alongside our domestic and international law enforcement partners and pursue bad actors hiding on the Darknet.  Our trained cyber analysts and investigators have conducted undercover efforts that target dark website operators, vendors and prolific buyers of these dangerous drugs. HSI special agents employ unique investigative capabilities to trace and identify the proceeds stemming from the distribution and online sales of fentanyl and other illicit opioids.  These efforts will continue to thwart a significant amount of criminal drug sale activity and deter criminals believing they can operate with anonymity on the Darknet.”


Justice Dept.: 179 arrested in darknet opioid takedown

International Law Enforcement Operation Targeting Opioid Traffickers on the Darknet Results in over 170 Arrests Worldwide and the Seizure of Weapons, Drugs and over $6.5 Million

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