Dutch police secretly ran a huge dark web drug marketplace for a month
In a shocking turn of events, Europol has revealed that the National Dutch Police had surreptitiously taken over and operated the second largest drug marketplace on the dark web, Hansa, for at least a month now.
“Months of preparation and coordination have resulted today, 20 July 2017, in the takedown of two of the largest criminal Dark Web markets, AlphaBay and Hansa,” Europol said in a press release.
— Europol (@Europol) July 20, 2017
The news follows the unexpected disappearance of the largest illegal dark web marketplace, AlphaBay, which first went down about two weeks ago.
“Two major law enforcement operations, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Dutch National Police, with the support of Europol, have shut down the infrastructure of an underground criminal economy responsible for the trading of over 350 000 illicit commodities including drugs, firearms and cybercrime malware,” the statement further notes.
Het adminpaneel van Hansa pic.twitter.com/OlHpoDHJ6N
— Joost Schellevis (@Schellevis) July 20, 2017
“The coordinated law enforcement action in Europe and the US ranks as one of the most sophisticated takedown operations ever seen in the fight against criminal activities online.”
Dutch police has since remarked that, as part of the investigation, it will be actively seeking to catch not only vendors, but also buyers. According to sources, local task forces have intentions to go after at least 500 buyers.
500 addresses of Dutch buyers known. Parcels intercepted in cooperation with postal and courier services. #HansaDown
— Landelijke Eenheid (@PolitieLE) July 20, 2017
Dutch police has also revealed it has collected and passed on at least 10,000 addresses of Hansa market buyers to Europol for further investigation.
It also managed to seize over 1,000 Bitcoin, worth more than $2 million. All funds have been since transferred to the Dutch Public Prosecution Service.