The Department of Justice (DOJ) in line with a host of other government agencies have exposed traders of illicit goods on the Darknet to confiscate weapons and more than $20 million in bitcoin from them.
The operation which was lead by the Department of Justice had Special Agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) act as money launderers on Darknet market sites where they were able to identify traders of illicit products while exchanging U.S dollar for the cryptocurrency.
The agents managed to confiscate cryptocurrency mining devices, weapons, narcotics, $3.6 million in U.S currency and gold bars, about 2,000 bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies worth more than $20 million, according to the DOJ.
Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein speaking on the effectiveness of the raid noted illicit traders should not be at ease in the Darknet.“Criminals who think that they are safe on the Darknet are wrong,” he said. “We can expose their networks, and we are determined to bring them to justice. Today, we arrested more than 35 alleged Darknet vendors. We seized their weapons, their drugs, and $23.6 million of their ill-gotten gains.”
Rosenstein went on to add the plans of the agency. He noted there will be a nationwide effort to stop the supply of drugs such as deadly “fentanyl that is killing an unprecedented number of Americans.” According to doctors, an amount of fentanyl as “small as a grain of sand can kill an adult.”
In his statement, the Executive Associate Director Derek Benner of U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) noted the Darknet is usually changing which makes it hard to track illicit traders on the platform.
“The Darknet is ever-changing and increasingly more intricate, making locating and targeting those selling illicit items on this platform more complicated,” he remarked.
He was however overwhelmed as the “veil has been lifted” and today’s bust shows that “every criminal is within arm’s reach of the law.”
With this operation, the HSI New York was able to create over 90 active cases around the country which resulted to the arrests of more than 35 Darknet traders. The DOJ partnered with the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), the U.S. Secret Service (USSS), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on the operation.
The Inspector in Charge Peter R. Rendina of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) New York Division noted that, the partnership between the postal inspectors and other law enforcement agencies sends a message to other illicit traders that “no resource or expense” will be left in its effort to stop the sale and distribution of illicit products on the Darknet.
Over 35 Darknet traders have been arrested and the investigation is still be conducted.