Opinion

DOJ Announces Biggest ‘Darknet’ Raid in History, Issues Stern Warning to Criminals

The United States Department of Justice gave itself a very well-earned pat on the back in making a bombshell announcement Tuesday regarding “Operation DisrupTor.”

“This morning, the Department is joining its partners in the United States and Europe to announce the results of Operation DisrupTor. Operation DisrupTor is the United States Government’s largest operation to date targeting criminal activity on the Darknet, particularly opioid trafficking,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen said.

Rosen stood alongside some of his peers who helped make this operation a success, including Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray, Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Timothy Shea, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Deputy Director Derek Benner, and Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale.

“Over the past months, the United States and its partners across the globe have worked together to deal a powerful blow to this criminal underworld,” Rosen said.

That powerful blow, detailed in a Tuesday news release, included the seizure of both drugs and guns.

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Roughly $6.5 million in both cash and virtual currencies, 274 kilograms of drugs in the United States alone and 63 firearms were all seized thanks to the worldwide raid.

The drugs found in the United States included various opioids such as “fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, MDMA, and medicine containing addictive substances,” the DOJ said.

The well-documented opioid crisis in America is a major source of consternation to President Donald Trump’s administration.

Thus, Operation DisrupTor can only be construed as a win for Trump.

Operation DisrupTor also led to 179 arrests, with 121 of them being in the United States. That latter number included a pair of arrests in Canada on the United States’ behalf.

“Criminals selling fentanyl on the Darknet should pay attention to Operation DisrupTor,” Rosen warned. “The arrest of 179 of them in seven countries — with the seizure of their drug supplies and their money as well — shows that there will be no safe haven for drug dealing in cyberspace.”

Arrests were also made in Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Austria and Sweden.

“With the spike in opioid-related overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that today’s announcement is important and timely,” Wray said.

“The FBI wants to assure the American public, and the world, that we are committed to identifying Darknet drug dealers and bringing them to justice. But our work does not end with today’s announcement. The FBI, through JCODE and our partnership with Europol, continues to be actively engaged in a combined effort to disrupt the borderless, worldwide trade of illicit drugs. The FBI will continue to use all investigative techniques and tools to identify and prosecute Darknet opioid dealers, wherever they may be located.”

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The “Darknet” is a term that describes the far corners of the internet, generally accessible through specialized encryption tools that keeps its users anonymous.

One of the more popular methods of encryption involves the use of the “Tor Browser,” hence the capitalized “T” in “Operation DisrupTor.”

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