DarkMarket, the world’s largest illegal marketplace on the dark web, has been taken offline in an international operation involving Germany, Australia, Denmark, Moldova, Ukraine, the United Kingdom (the National Crime Agency), and the USA (DEA, FBI, and IRS). Europol supported the takedown with specialist operational analysis and coordinated the cross-border collaborative effort of the countries involved.
German prosecutors in the cities of Koblenz and Oldenburg revealed on Tuesday that they had shut down what was “probably the largest illegal marketplace on the Darknet” called Dark Market and arrested the man believed to operate it near Germany’s border with Denmark.
The arrested man, believed to be DarkMarket’s admin, is a 34-year-old Australian national.
The suspect was brought before a judge but declined to speak. He was placed in pre-trial detention.
Dark Market Stats:
- almost 500 000 users;
- more than 2 400 sellers;
- over 320 000 transactions;
- more than 4 650 bitcoin and 12 800 monero transferred
At the current rate, this equals to a sum of more than $170 million.
The Central Criminal Investigation Department in the German city of Oldenburg arrested an Australian citizen who is the alleged operator of DarkMarket near the German-Danish border over the weekend.
The investigation, which was led by the cybercrime unit of the Koblenz Public Prosecutor’s Office, allowed officers to locate and close the marketplace, switch off the servers and seize the infrastructure – more than 20 servers in Moldova and Ukraine supported by the German Federal Criminal Police office (BKA).
The stored data will give investigators new leads to further investigate moderators, sellers, and buyers.
The American FBI, DEA narcotics law enforcement division and IRS tax authority took part in the probe along with their German colleagues.
The investigation also involved police from Australia, Britain, Denmark, Switzerland, Ukraine and Moldova, with Europol playing a ‘coordinating role’.