New “Dark Net” Arrests and Prosecutions in Federal Court

The Department Justice recently announced the arrests of 150 people in the United States and Europe as part of the department’s Operation Dark HunTor. The operation—which targeted opioid trafficking on the restricted-access overlay network known as the “darknet” or “dark web”— was a joint endeavor by the DOJ’s Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (“J-CODE”) team and Europol. In addition to making arrests, Dark HunTor also allowed the agencies to seize 234 kilograms of contraband drugs and over $31.6 million in both virtual and traditional currency.

Law enforcement has been cracking down harder in recent years on illegal dark web activities. The formation of J-CODE itself in January of 2018, was an explicit move by the DOJ to prioritize this kind of investigation, and the team quickly grew to become a partnership with not only the FBI, but also the DEA, the ATF, the US Postal Service, the IRS, NCIS, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the Department of Homeland Security. J-CODE also works with law enforcement agencies outside of the United States. Dark HunTor is the fourth of J-CODE’s coordinated global actions, following 2018’s Operation Disarray, 2019’s Operation SaboTor, and 2020’s Operation DisrupTor. Agencies in both the United States and abroad have also successfully taken down specific large-scale contraband marketplaces like DarkMarket, Wall Street Market, AlphaBay, and Silk Road.

Individuals who are arrested as part of operations like these will generally face serious federal criminal charges. In addition to drug conspiracy or pornography charges, the Government may also accuse them of money laundering, wire fraud, or other computer crimes. Bank accounts, large sums of money or other property, and even real estate can also be taken and subject to forfeiture proceedings as a result.

Our firm has over twenty-five years of experience with cases like these, and a long track-record of successful outcomes. We work with trusted forensic experts to analyze the evidence and dismantle the allegations. If you or someone you know is facing charges for computer crimes, contact our team of experienced attorneys to find out more about how we can help.

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