The U.S. Justice Department and European law enforcement agency Europol Tuesday announced that 179 people were arrested following a nine-month operation aimed at disrupting opioid trafficking on the dark web.
Most of the arrests took place in the United States, while others were apprehended in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, Austria and Sweden, according to a Justice Department statement, which said other investigations were ongoing.
The department said in addition to the arrests, authorities seized $6.5 million and 500 kilograms of drugs, including fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and MDMA.
The dark web is a part of the internet that does not appear in popular search engines and is not utilized by most internet users.
“Law enforcement is most effective when working together, and today’s announcement sends a strong message to criminals selling or buying illicit goods on the dark web: the hidden internet is no longer hidden, and your anonymous activity is not anonymous,” said Edvardas Šileris, head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Center. “Law enforcement is committed to tracking down criminals no matter where they operate, be it on the streets or behind a computer screen.”
Europol said the operation included law enforcement and judicial cooperation from Austria, Cyprus, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Canada and Britain.