Dark web takes a hit as two marketplaces shut down
Every year, contract killings, drug sales, human trafficking, and hundreds of billions of dollars in fraudulent activity is conducted in this dark corner of the Internet. Two of the most notorious groups involved in this activity found a light shining on them on Friday, as arrests in Germany and the United States took down two of the largest illegal enterprises on the web. This according to a release by Europol.
In Germany, police took down the second largest illegal online market in the world. According to prosecutors, the three men who were allegedly running the enterprise were arrested. The “Wall Street Market” (WSM), as it was known, traded in vast amounts of illegal drugs, including cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines, as well as stolen data and fake documents and the distribution of malicious software.
According to the police, 1 million customers had accounts with WSM. In a statement by U.S. prosecutors, they explained, “WSM operated like a conventional e-commerce website, such as eBay and Amazon. However, its sole existence was geared to the trafficking of contraband.”
The three men, Klaus-Martin Frost, Jonathan Kalla, and Tibo Lousee, are accused of running the criminal organization for nearly 3 years. German investigators knew them only by their hacker monikers “coder420,” “Kronos” and “TheOne,” before making the arrest.
Similar raids were conducted in the United States, where additional defendants were arrested.
On Sunday, authorities also took down crypto’s largest dark web, according to a report. Just after the raids in Germany and the United States, American and European officials were able to shut down an organization that had stolen millions of dollars in crypto funds from account holders.
These groups were not only involved in the stealing of crypto funds but were also assisting in the sale and distribution of illegal drugs. Ryan White, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, explained:
“The charges filed in Germany and the United States will significantly disrupt the illegal sale of drugs on the darknet. We believe that the Wall Street Market recently became the world’s largest darknet marketplace for contraband including narcotics, hacking tools, illegal services, and stolen financial data.”
Law enforcement authorities across the globe have had a great deal of success in the last month at shutting down criminal enterprises which use the Internet as their marketplace. A marketplace known as “Dream Market” was shut down on April 25, and a group of drug dealers pleaded guilty in New York on the same day as part of a money-laundering scheme using cryptocurrencies.
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