The Department of Justice – aided by a host of additional agencies and departments working in conjunction – have uncovered a criminal gang working with apartment immunity on the so-called “Darknet.” The DOJ halted their operation which was based around the sale of illicit goods (drugs, guns, extreme pornography etc), also seizing weapons and over $20 million in Bitcoin from them.
Yesterday (June 26) the Department of Justice aided by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Secret Service (USSS), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), announced the outcome of what had been a year-long, coordinated national operation that used the first nationwide undercover action to target vendors of illicit goods on the Darknet.
Gov’t Agents Posed As Money Launderers
This combined task force smashed a criminal operation that freely dealt in illegal and illicit goods including drugs and arms, and also had a stash of cyber cash in the form of $20 million worth of Bitcoin, profits from illegal online wheeling and dealing, in which cryptocurrency is preferred above any other currency because of its comparative anonymity.
Special Agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) had posed as money launderers on Darknet market sites. From that position they were able to identify vendors of illicit products while exchanging U.S dollars for virtual currency.
The DOJ would later give a detailed account of when the undercover agents swooped, they seized specialized crypto mining devices, a selection of weapons including assault rifles and high-end handguns, Class-A narcotics, $3.6 million in regular U.S currency and gold bars, nearly 2,000 Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies worth over $20 million.
No Safety On The Darknet
Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein said illicit vendors should not feel too comfortable plying their seedy trade on the Darknet, because there is no safety for them there:
“Criminals who think that they are safe on the Darknet are wrong. We can expose their networks, and we are determined to bring them to justice. Today, we arrested more than 35 alleged Darknet vendors. We seized their weapons, their drugs, and $23.6 million of their ill-gotten gains.”