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The European and US authorities have arrested until now 16 suspects of underground weapons and drug dealing using the dark net websites. The officials have also caught the Silk Road 2.0 site operator, another one of the most influential illegal website on the internet. The US authorities announced that the Silk Road 2.0 website has been shut down, an online drug marketplace. The police arrested Blake Benthall, the alleged site’s operator, on the charges of drug trafficking, money laundering, computer hacking and other online crimes.
Europol made an official statement saying that the European and US cyber crime units have searched more than 18 countries and have gathered more than $1 million worth of Bitcoin, which is the digital currency used on these websites. The cyber crime police has also found more than 180,000 euro in cash, narcotics, silver and gold.
The head of Europol cybercrime center, Troels Oerting said that the recent operation had destroyed an important part of the infrastructure of online weapons and drugs trade in the countries involved and added that the dark net sites are very easy to create and it’s very difficult to close them all.
The raids were made in countries like United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Romania, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Latvia, Ireland, Hungary, Germany, France, Finland, Czech Republic and Bulgaria. The operation against the dark net websites used the code name Onymous. The authorities arrested more than 16 people who operated the illegal sites. Europol has not made public the official charges brought upon the arrested individuals.
The cyber crime units have closed more than 400 dark net websites and domains, which were used to sell drugs, guns, child pornography and murder-for-hire.
Oerting said about the dark net websites that:
“They had set up complete business models, just like any web shop. They display what they sell; drugs, weapons, stolen credit cards. People paid and they delivered by the mailman. There was even a ranking system for reliable suppliers.”
The illegal organizations used the “Tor” computer network, a network which allows the users to hide their IP, thus communicating with other computers without being located.