After Operation Bayonet, an FBI-led joint operation (Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement, J-CODE) targeting drug dealing on the Darknet resulted in the arrest of 61 people and seizure of $4.5 million in cryptocurrency.
The operation, undertaken by Joint Criminal Opioid and the Darknet Enforcement team, was named SaboTor, amalgamating the word ‘sabotage’ and Tor, the software that was used to gain access to the Darknet. The action of the operation took place between 11th of January and 12th of March.
As reported on the FBI’s official news website, other government bodies were also involved with the operation. The list includes Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, United States Postal Inspection Service, Department of Justice, Department of Defense and international partners from the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol).
Together, these organizations led out a string of planned raids to take down the online drug dealing.
Apart from the $4.5 million seized in cryptocurrency and the arrest of 61 criminals, authorities have also revealed a seizure of another $2.48 million in cash, $40,000 worth of gold, 300 kilograms of drugs and 51 firearms. The participating agencies conducted 122 interviews and also engaged in public education related to drug abuse during the operation.
Europol Executive Director Catherine De Bolle said in a statement, “The Dark Web is not as dark as you think. When you buy or sell illegal goods online, you are not hidden from law enforcement, and you are putting yourself in danger…”
In another statement, FBI Director Christopher Wray said, “Criminals have always adopted innovations and new technologies to achieve their illicit goals, and it’s our job to adapt and remain ahead of the threat.” So far, the authorities have not revealed the name of the cryptocurrencies that have been seized.