US AUTHORITIES CRACK DOWN ON DARKNET WITH NATIONWIDE UNDERCOVER OPERATION

On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that US law enforcement officials have arrested 35 people suspected of selling “illicit goods” on the darknet as a result of the first nationwide undercover operation targeting darknet vendors. Additionally, the operation resulted in the seizure of illegal narcotics, firearms, US$3.6 million in cash and gold bars, and nearly 2,000 Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies with an approximate value of US$20 million, the Justice Department said.

The operation included the Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Postal Inspection Service,  The darknet is a part of the web that can be accessed only through specific software and a dedicated browser, such as the Tor Project’s browser, which hides users’ online identities.

The Justice Department said agents posed as money launderers on Darknet market sites, exchanging US dollar for cryptocurrencies. This operation led agents to vendors of illicit goods and the creation of more than 90 active legal cases around the country, the Justice Department said. The findings of this undercover action also show that crypto currencies have become a major factor in the Darknet business.