Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigators have raided several properties in Brisbane and the Gold Coast in relation to the shutdown of the world’s largest illegal dark web marketplace, DarkMarket.
The site was shut down after a 34-year-old Queensland man was arrested by German police last week near the German border with Denmark.
He is accused of being the administrator of DarkMarket, which was selling drugs, counterfeit cash, stolen credit card data, anonymous SIM cards and malware.
Before being taken down, the marketplace had nearly 500,000 users and more than 2,400 vendors. It had processed more than 320,000 transactions, while more than 140 million euros ($220 million) in Bitcoin and Monero cryptocurrency was exchanged.
Following the Queensland man’s arrest, German authorities alerted the AFP-led cybercrime unit Operation Futurist, which led to the latest raids.
The AFP executed search warrants on Thursday and Friday in Park Ridge, Mount Cotton and at a commercial facility in Molendinar.
A laptop, four mobile phones, six USB thumb drives and five hard drives, as well as SIM cards and bank cards were seized.
Cybercrime Operations and Digital Forensic Teams are reviewing the evidence and they have not ruled out making arrests in Queensland.
In a statement, the AFP Southern Command Acting Commander of Investigations, Jayne Crossling, said it was likely Australian criminals had been buying illicit items from DarkMarket.
“Some of these items could have been used or acquired by Australians in Australia,” she said.
“The job of the AFP and its partner agencies is to keep Australians safe.
“If police knew there was criminal activity occurring in geographic location, action would be taken.
“There is no difference with the dark web, although the anonymising features of the dark web makes it harder for law enforcement to identify perpetrators, who commit abhorrent crimes.”