End of Monopoly Market
In a joint action conducted at the end of April and coordinated by Europol, together with authorities from nine countries from inside and outside the EU, “Monopoly Market” - an illegal dark web marketplace mainly for buying and selling drugs - was shut down. Altogether €50.8 million in cash and virtual currencies, 850 kg of drugs, and 117 firearms were seized. In addition, 288 suspects were arrested in the USA, UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, France, Switzerland, Poland, and Brazil. Because law enforcement authorities also gained access to the lists of buyers, Monopoly Market customers across the globe are now at risk of prosecution.
Operation SpecTor built up on the takedown of the marketplace’s criminal infrastructure by German authorities in 2021. Based on troves of evidence provided by the German authorities, Europol compiled intelligence packages to serve as a basis for further national investigations. Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre also facilitated the information exchange and carried out data analyses to identify vendors on the dark web.
Operation SpecTor follows up on other EU law enforcement actions against illicit dark web markets, such as DisrupTor (2020); Dark HunTor (2021) and Hydra (2022).