Europol announced it dismantled DarkMarket, the world’s largest dark web marketplace for illicit goods, as part of an international operation involving Germany, Australia, Denmark, Moldova, Ukraine, the United Kingdom (the National Crime Agency), and the USA (DEA, FBI, and IRS).
According to the agency, at the time of its closure, DarkMarket is believed to have had nearly 500,000 users, and more than 2 400 sellers, with over 320,000 transactions resulting in the transfer of more than 4,650 bitcoin and 12,800 monero - a sum of more than €140 million. The marketplace mostly sold drugs, counterfeit money, stolen or counterfeit credit card details, anonymous SIM cards and malware.
The German police that led the investigation into DarkMarket arrested an Australian citizen who is believed to be the operator behind the marketplace near the German-Danish border.
The police also shut down and seized the criminal infrastructure consisting of more than 20 servers located in Moldova and Ukraine.
According to The Guardian, DarkMarket came to light in the course of major investigation against the web-hosting service Cyberbunker, located in a former Nato bunker in south-western Germany that housed darknet internet servers that facilitated illegal online activity. In September 2019, the bunker was raided and closed by the German police, and key members of the group behind Cyberbunker were arrested.