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‘Largest illegal darknet marketplace’ DarkMarket taken offline
Authorities say the darknet platform had half of a million users, where drugs, counterfeit money, stolen charge card data, anonymous SIM cards and malware were traded. The suspected operator was arrested in Germany.
German prosecutors in the cities of Koblenz and Oldenburg said on Tuesday that they had shut down what was “probably the biggest illegal marketplace on the Darknet ” called DarkMarket and arrested the person believed to use it near Germany’s border with Denmark.
The detained man, thought to be DarkMarket’s operator, is a 34-year-old Australian national.
Authorities say drugs, counterfeit money, darkode market – http://motofon.net/out/212538/ stolen credit card data, anonymous SIM cards and malware were all traded on the internet site, which had a fifty per cent of a million users and transacted business in cryptocurrencies equivalent to a price of €140 million ($170 million).
Oldenburg police said the raid took place within the weekend. “Investigators could power down industry and switch off the server on Monday,” prosecutors said.
DarkMarket’s bust was not the first for German authorities, which have found illegal platform operators on German soil in recent years. In 2019, Koblenz prosecurots announced the discovery of darknet servers hosted from the former NATO bunker in a sleepy German town.
Authorities say the probe that uncovered DarkMarket involved a months-long international law enforcement operation.
US agencies like the FBI, DEA narcotics police force division and IRS tax authority all contributed to the investigation, along side police from Australia, Britain, Denmark, Switzerland, Ukraine and Moldova, with Europol playing a “coordinating role.”
“A total of at the least 320,000 transactions were carried out via industry, with more than 4,650 Bitcoin and 12,800 Monero – two of the most common cryptocurrencies – changing hands,” Oldenburg authorities added.
During the time of its closure, DarkMarket had more than 2,400 vendors.
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