150 arrested in global LE operation targeting dark web opioid traffickers

Operation Dark HunTor crossed three continents and involved dozens of U.S. and international law enforcement agencies

By Suzie Ziegler 

WASHINGTON — An international law enforcement effort spanning three continents has resulted in the arrests of 150 people worldwide who have ties to opioid trafficking on the dark web. 

According to a release Tuesday from the Justice Department, Operation Dark HunTor was a partnership between the United States, Australia and Europe against the illicit sale of drugs and other illegal goods and services. The operation led to the seizure of over $31.6 million in cash and virtual currencies, about 234 kilograms (kg) of drugs, and 45 firearms. The arrests took place in the U.S., Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Bulgaria. 

Operation Dark HunTor built on the success of last year’s Operation DisrupTor, which took down the world’s then-largest illegal marketplace on the dark web, according to the report.

[RELATED: Dealing in the dark: What cops need to know about the darknet]

“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,” said Deputy Attorney General Monaco in a statement. “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.” 

A number of investigations related to the operation are ongoing, the DOJ said.

NEXT: Responding to the opioid crisis: An overview of strategies and resources for law enforcement

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