The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (JCODE) team joined Europol to arrest 150 people worldwide in Operation Dark HunTor, an effort that seized weapons, drugs and more than $31 million in currencies.
Operation Dark HunTor included arrests across three continents, taking into custody alleged perpetrators across the United States, Australia, and Europe.
A statement from the DOJ noted 65 arrests in the United States, one in Bulgaria, three in France, 47 in Germany, four in the Netherlands, 24 in the United Kingdom, four in Italy, and two in Switzerland.
“This 10-month massive international law enforcement operation spanned across three continents and involved dozens of U.S. and international law enforcement agencies to send one clear message to those hiding on the Darknet peddling illegal drugs: there is no dark internet. We can and we will shine a light,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said.
“Operation Dark HunTor prevented countless lives from being lost to this dangerous trade in illicit and counterfeit drugs, because one pill can kill. The Department of Justice with our international partners will continue to crack down on lethal counterfeit opioids purchased on the Darknet,” she added.
The emphasis in the operation was to decrease the flow of illegal drugs internationally. The results included $31.6 million in both cash and virtual currencies; approximately 234 kilograms (kg) of drugs worldwide including 152.1 kg of amphetamine, 21.6 kg of cocaine, 26.9 kg of opioids, and 32.5 kg of MDMA, in addition to more than 200,000 ecstasy, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methamphetamine pills, and counterfeit medicine; and 45 firearms, according to the statement.
“The men and women of the department’s Criminal Division, in close collaboration with our team of interagency and international partners, stand ready to leverage all our resources to protect our communities through the pursuit of those who profit from addiction, under the false belief that they are anonymous on the Darknet,” Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said.
“Only through a whole of government and, in this case, global approach to tackling cyber-enabled drug trafficking can we hope to achieve the significant results illustrated in Operation Dark HunTor,” he added.
FBI Director Christopher Wray also commented on the widespread, multi-national operation and its impact.
“The FBI continues to identify and bring to justice drug dealers who believe they can hide their illegal activity through the Darknet,” Wray said in the statement.
“Criminal Darknet markets exist so drug dealers can profit at the expense of others’ safety. The FBI is committed to working with our JCODE and EUROPOL law enforcement partners to disrupt those markets and the borderless, worldwide trade in illicit drugs they enable,” he added.