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150 people arrested in dark web drug probe, Justice Department says

Prosecutors allege those charged are responsible for tens of thousands of illegal sales in the U.S., the United Kingdom and a list of other countries.

Law enforcement officials in the U.S. and Europe have arrested 150 people and seized more than $31 million in an international drug trafficking investigation stemming from sales on the darknet, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

The arrests are connected to a 10-month investigation between federal law enforcement officials in the U.S. and Europol in Europe. Prosecutors allege those charges are responsible for tens of thousands of illegal sales in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The Justice Department says investigators have seized over $31.6 million in cash and virtual currency and 45 guns.

During a press conference Tuesday, the Department of Justice said that the top priorities in their operation are to stop those who seek to use the U.S. Postal Service to distribute drugs, and to protect postal workers.

Credit: DOJ
Department of Justice officials hold presser Tuesday Oct. 26

The darknet is a part of the internet hosted within an encrypted network and accessible only through specialized anonymity-providing tools, most notably the Tor Browser.

Investigators also recovered a slew of illegal drugs, including counterfeit medication and opioid pills, along with more than 152 kilograms of amphetamine, 21 kilograms of cocaine and 32.5 kilograms of MDMA, according to prosecutors.

Those arrested include 65 people in the U.S., 47 in Germany, 24 people in the United Kingdom, four in Italy, four in the Netherlands, three in France, two in Switzerland and one person in Bulgaria.