As more people turn to the dark web to buy drugs, there's a concern that some of these sites could be knocked out by police. That's why security researcher Gwern Branwen has compiled a database of known arrests related to dark web markets.
This list includes a lot Hidden wiki of details, including who was arrested and what market they were involved in. The database is a great resource for anyone interested in finding out whether they're safe to buy products from dark web markets.
A database of dark web arrests is now available to the public, thanks to security researcher Gwern Branwen. He has spent years analyzing news reports and court documents, and he recently compiled the list into a publicly available database.
The database lists the dates, locations, and details of dark web arrests, including the identity of the person arrested and whether they were a buyer or seller. It also includes the market that was involved and the country in which the person was arrested.
As the dark web becomes a more popular destination for illicit activity, law enforcement agencies are seeking better ways to respond. NIJ-supported research is helping to identify those needs.
One high-priority need is fostering new state task forces that can share data between organizations and jurisdictions on the dark web. This will provide a more coordinated approach to dark web investigations and help agencies better understand the scope of these activities.
Another need is to develop new standards for forensic tools that can collect dark web evidence on computers. This will help police agencies better understand the data they find and how to turn it into evidence that can be used in legal proceedings.
Several other law enforcement groups are also collaborating on projects to address this issue, such as Interpol and the European Union’s Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT). The workshop identified six overarching topics that law enforcement agencies need to consider when identifying needs for conducting criminal investigations involving evidence on the dark web:
Rapid Change in Volume of Use
In recent years, many illegal services and contraband were firmly sourced on the dark web. However, this model is eroding as people use social media and other mainstream sites to advertise and sell illegal goods and services.
This has led to a dramatic increase in the number of criminals using the dark web to promote their operations and launder money. Moreover, law enforcement is increasingly seeing links between the most serious crime on the dark web and highly visible traditional crimes.
The dark web is a complex, global ecosystem that requires improved information sharing between authorities and financial institutions. This type of cooperation will ensure that law enforcement can bring to light the most dangerous and complex offenders who are hiding their illegal activities on the dark web.
The dark web is known for its illicit activity, but it also serves as a lifeline for whistleblowers, journalists, democratic reformers and others who need to communicate secretly. It is accessed through the Tor browser and provides users with anonymity; however, many fear that using the dark web for illegal activities could have legal consequences.
Law enforcement agents across the world have used dark web arrests to crack down on criminal activity, resulting in numerous seizures of drugs and firearms. Most recently, a coordinated international operation by police forces in nine countries led to the arrest of 150 suspected drug dealers and buyers.
This operation, which involved Europol, was conducted in the context of Operation Dark HunTOR and resulted in the seizure of 6.5 million euros in cash and cryptocurrencies, as well as 63 firearms and 234 kg of drugs, including 152kg of amphetamine, 27kg of opioids and 25 000 ecstasy pills.
During the course of their investigation, police forces from Australia, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom arrested 150 people in nine countries. They were arrested in connection with the illicit sale of narcotics such as fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine on the dark web.
The latest operation comes just weeks after German cops shut down the alleged operator of Deutschland im Deep Web, an online marketplace that had been active for at least three years and was known to sell weapons, illegal drugs and other illegal goods. The market had attracted 500,000 users and facilitated 320,000 transactions, according to the EU’s law enforcement agency, Europol.
While a lot of these criminal operations are relatively small, they show how important it is for law enforcement agencies to work together in order to address dark web crime effectively. This is especially true when it comes to identifying potential suspects on the dark web who have connections to other criminal organisations, or who are planning similar activities in another country.
In some cases, investigators have even managed to penetrate large dark web organizations and gain access to their internal databases. For example, when the original Silk Road was taken down, investigators took over an account that had been compromised by a member of the site’s staff and were able to access their private data for months, feeding that information to other agents.
The seizure of drugs
Drugs have been seized in a wide range of operations targeting the dark web, an area of the Internet that can only be accessed with special tools. Authorities have seized hundreds of kilograms of drugs, including heroin, fentanyl and opioids in several investigations.
The Drug Enforcement Agency, United States Postal Service and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) have partnered with the Justice Department's Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement team in a number of investigations. These investigations have led to the seizure of a variety of illegal drugs, firearms and cash.
JCODE investigators have arrested individuals from a variety of states for their trafficking activities. In Southern California, for example, members of the Los Angeles JCODE Task Force seized 120 pounds of methamphetamine and seven kilograms of MDMA in a law enforcement action earlier this year.
Agents also seized fentanyl pills in Florida and Rhode Island. According to the Justice Department, those drugs were being sold on two darknet marketplaces in the United States.
In another case, a drug dealer named “Stealthgod” was dismantled for selling drugs on various darknet markets. He allegedly received shipments of wholesale quantities of a controlled substance from international sources. He rented an office in Stoughton, Massachusetts, to process and manufacture the drugs he was selling on the darknet.
He used a website called “DiDW,” which is a forum that offers a secure way to purchase weapons and other illicit goods, to advertise his illegal merchandise. He also marketed the drugs, which were found to include methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, opioids and MDMA.
The arrests are part of an ongoing effort by law enforcement agencies in the United States and Europe to disrupt illicit online drug trafficking on the Darknet. The sting operation, dubbed Operation DisrupTor, was coordinated by the US Justice Department and Europol.
During the 10-month investigation, agents seized over $31.6 million in cash and virtual currencies and collected 234 kilograms of drugs worldwide, including amphetamines, cocaine, opioids and MDMA.
The operation was the largest seizure by the multinational Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet team since it began last year. A number of arrests were made by law enforcement agencies in the US, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.
The seizure of firearms
A number of dark web markets are geared toward selling illegal firearms and ammunition. Law enforcement has made it a priority to target dark web sellers of these items, and the seizure of illegal firearms is a common outcome of dark web arrests.
One of the most effective ways for law enforcement to identify sellers is by going undercover on Dark Web marketplaces. By posing as the seller and obtaining their mailing address, investigators can gain access to shipping procedures and evidence such as fingerprints on packages.
For example, a recent undercover sting by the US Department of Justice and the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agency resulted in the arrest of two people who were trying to buy guns on a Dark Web marketplace. The two were arrested in Sacramento and charged with drug trafficking, money laundering, and illegal possession of weapons.
While the majority of drug trafficking arrests on the dark web involve buyers of illegal drugs, a small number of gun purchases are also made. This is a significant change from the past, when fewer drug sellers were arrested for buying firearms on the dark web.
HSI and other law enforcement agencies have been involved in many coordinated operations against criminals who use the dark web to sell illegal goods, including weapons. In May, an international operation involving the FBI, Europol and Dutch law enforcement agencies was announced as “Operation DisrupTor,” in which police seized cash, crypto currencies, and drugs, according to an official press release from Europol.
Another international operation was announced in March that targeted the German-language dark web market “Deutschland im Deep Web” (DiDW). The sting resulted in the arrest of a 22-year-old student who operated DiDW, as well as the confiscation of a pistol and other weapons.
Although this is not the first time that dark web weapons have been seized, it is an indication of how serious law enforcement agencies are taking these crimes. Several of these arrests were based on information provided by the public, which often provides details about individuals who are looking to purchase weapons illegally.