Today, Europol announced that they had managed to disarticulate a darknet narcotics operation that was based in Spain and Austria, and confiscated more than 4.5 million euros product of the distribution of these substances. In one of the biggest surprises ever, the labs and facilities used to manufacture and distribute the drugs were registered as legal businesses and operated as such.
The Europol, short for European Police Office, was the organization in charge of coordinating the efforts between the Spanish Guardia Civil, and the Australian Federal Police. They raided six houses in different locations in Spain and one in Austria, finding an abundance of tools and substances needed to synthesize the drugs in the labs. the drugs being made were synthetic opioids, methamphetamines, among others.
The group sold these drugs through darknet markets, web pages that are difficult to track because they are run on a different kind of network. They received the orders there and then proceeded to collect the payment in cryptocurrencies to avoid police detection. Then they proceeded to send the narcotics all across Europe using the postal services, and identified the products as cement additives and other kinds of chemical products.
They also laundered money laundering through the use of these legal businesses as a coverup for their illicit activities. As a result of these searches and raids, seven people were detained, and three real estate properties were seized. Also, large sums of cash and more than 500 bitcoins were seized by the authorities.
This announcement comes after the Department of Homeland Security communicated yesterday that they had also cracked down on more than 70 illegal drug traffickers in the conclusion of an operation that had law enforcement agents posing as money launderers, exchanging fiduciary money for cryptocurrencies for these vendors.
Drug traffic is one of the most common crimes on the dark web, making more than a fifth of all the earnings of criminal activities; that’s why the Europol will keep on watch in regards to darknet markets, with the idea of disrupting them and bring them to law eventually.