FBI Seizes $4.5 Million In Crypto from Dark Markets Running on Tor
The FBI announced the results of an anti-drug operation that led to the seizure of millions of dollars in illegally obtained assets. In a press release, the FBI’s Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team expressed satisfaction regarding the successful end of Operation SaboTor.
The operation – named after the words Sabotage and TOR –
sought to shut down a multinational scheme of illegal drug and arms
trafficking. After intense work of intelligence, the agents were able to arrest
61 suspects and collect several million dollars, of which 4.5 million were
stored in multiple cryptocurrency wallets.
“As a result of Operation SaboTor, U.S. and international law enforcement agencies made 61 arrests and shut down 50 Darknet accounts used for illegal activity. Law enforcement executed 65 search warrants, seizing 299.5 kilograms of drugs, 51 firearms, and more than $7 million ($4.5 million in cryptocurrency, $2.48 million in cash, and $40,000 in gold). They also conducted 122 interviews. In addition, participating agencies engaged in public education efforts regarding the dangers of opioid abuse during the operation.”
This exercise shows that although anonymity techniques are increasingly successful, there is also a significant effort by governments to prevent people from using technology to promote crime.
There is No Such Thing as True Anonymity
It is important to note that despite the bad notion that many have of crypto, the reality (according to a Europol report) is that cryptocurrencies are not very popular among criminals. Still, the use of fiat is by far the preferred medium for gangsters to conduct their transactions.
However, these types of operations serve to clean up the image of cryptos and other identity anonymization technologies. Derek Benner, Executive Associate Director at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, explained that the government is determined to use all its resources to maintain order, and that dark markets are not outside the law (despite what certain anarchists like RogerVer think).
Operation SaboTor is a major step forward in the journey to combat the opioid epidemic and protect our citizens from dangerous drugs. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service will continue to work tirelessly alongside our J-CODE partners to keep our communities safe.