Law enforcement officials arrested 179 people and seized $6.5 million in a worldwide crackdown on opioid trafficking on the darknet, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday. The operation, which mainly occurred in the U.S. and Europe, was announced a year after officials took down the “Wall Street Market,” which was believed to be one of the largest illegal online marketplaces on the darknet, the Associated Press reports. The darknet is part of the internet hosted within an encrypted network and accessible only through specialized anonymity-providing tools, notably the Tor Browser.
The $6.5 million was both in cash and virtual currency, and 500 kilograms of drugs were seized, DOJ said. About 275 kilograms of drugs, including fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and other opioids, were seized in the U.S. The arrests include 121 in the U.S., two in Canada, 42 in Germany, eight in the Netherlands, four in the United Kingdom, three in Australia and one in Sweden. The investigation is ongoing. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said the takedown showed “there will be no safe haven for drug dealing in cyberspace.”