In the latest example of how the dark web is not some secret society that allows users to be completely anonymous as they transact in cryptocurrencies, three men were arrested in the United States over charges of allegedly running a large illicit drug distribution network they called Sinmed. Sinmed was operating on what is known as the “Dream Market,” and is only one of many recent busts around the world that is turning the Dream Market into a nightmare—except for law enforcement.
During the arrest, large quantities of drugs, including Xanax and heroin laced with Fentanyl, were seized, along with large amounts of methamphetamine. The drugs were sold for Bitcoin Core (BTC) and others before the empire came crashing down following a long investigation.
According to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, “Not only is this the first time state prosecutors in New York have taken down a dark web storefront, this takedown represents the largest pill seizure in New Jersey’s history.”
The investigation involved the FBI, Europol and additional law enforcement organizations around the world. The FBI adds that it had made “61 arrests in its second coordinated law enforcement operation, Operator Sabotor, targeting opiod trafficking on the Darknet.”
The law enforcement efforts seem to be taking their toll. Because of the crackdown on illegal drug shops on the dark web, a number of illegal sites are shutting down, including Dream Market. It has announced that it will close up shop tomorrow after being the dark web’s longest-running illicit goods marketplace.
Of course, no one should be naïve enough to believe that Dream Market is done for good. It has left a message on its site informing its customers that it will transfer all its services to a “partner company” with a different .onion address. That site is currently offline but will open soon, according to the message.
Some believe that sites such as Dream Market could have been established by law enforcement to try and trap would-be criminals or dark market entrepreneurs. Whether this is true, or if law enforcement is simply getting better at policing the seedy back alleys of the Internet, the result is the same—less illicit drug sales and a cleaner cryptocurrency ecosystem.
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