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Europol: 150 People Arrested in Dark Web Bust

© AP Photo / Peter DejongExterior view of the Europol headquarters where participants gathered to attend the anti terror conference in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016
Exterior view of the Europol headquarters where participants gathered to attend the anti terror conference in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.10.2021
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The dark web is a term that describes parts of the World Wide Web that hide your identity and location, with users communicating through encrypted messages. It has been described as the Wild West of the Internet, as it is used by criminals, extremists, and hacking groups, among others.
150 people have been arrested as part of an international operation against criminals active on the dark web, Europol has announced. Officers seized more than $26.7 million in cash as well as over 230 kilograms of drugs and 45 units of weapons.
The majority of the detained individuals come from the United States (65), followed by Germany (47), the UK (24), the Netherlands (4), France (3), two people from Switzerland, and one from Bulgaria. Most of those arrested were salespeople and classified as "high value targets", Dutch outlet Pointer reported, citing documents it obtained.
The arrests were made possible after Europol earlier this year took DarkMarket, the world’s largest dark web marketplace used by half a million users, offline. Following the bust, law enforcement obtained information that helped them make the latest arrest.
The operation, dubbed Dark HunTOR, was conducted jointly by Europol and Eurojust, an EU agency dealing with judicial cooperation in criminal matters among member states. The detained individuals are said to have sold tens of thousands of illegal goods on the dark web.
Rolf van Wegberg, a cybercrime researcher at the Delft University of Technology, says the latest operation suggests that Europol has adopted a new strategy against criminals.

"Whereas these types of operations previously focused on arresting managers of these types of marketplaces and confiscating the infrastructure, we see that police forces have now focused on arresting the top sellers. Now the hope is that arresting the sellers will have a bigger impact", Wegberg said.

The dark web is a term that describes parts of the Internet that can’t be accessed by regular web browsers or search engines. Due to the fact that users can hide their identity and location, the dark web has become popular among criminals such as human traffickers, drug cartels, producers of child porn, as well as sellers of stolen and looted antiques.
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