As part of Operation Hyperion, an operation conducted by law enforcement agencies all over the world, Dutch authorities have taken down a Dark Web marketplace and posted a warning on it.
The marketplace’s frontpage lists active and arrested vendors, as well as identified buyers At the top, you can read “You have our attention”. If a username is on the page, it has reportedly been identified by the Dutch police. Next to the list of arrested vendors is a link, that directs users to a page with more information.
Moreover, the website includes a FAQ, that clearly includes a few warning shots:
If your username and residence are on this website, you’re identified as buyer of one or more Dark Markets. This means that your personal details are known to the police and the judicial authorities. It depends on your activities at this underground marketplace what the consequences will be.
As if the first one wasn’t enough, the warnings attempt to specifically target dark web users in the Netherlands:
If you are a resident of the Netherlands and you bought a small user’s quantity of drugs, no legal action will be taken right now. If you bought larger quantities of drugs, or took up other goods or services, then it is possible an investigation will be initiated. Vendors of illicit goods and services through Dark Markets are actively tracked down and prosecuted. Under the heading “Arrested” you’ll find a number of examples.
According to a press release from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the operation targets dark web marketplaces and coordinates law enforcement agencies from all over the world.
New Zealand has reportedly “identified and spoken to” over 160 individuals, and Sweden claims to have identified over 3.000. Other agencies from Canada, Australia, Finland and Spain have reportedly made some arrests as well.
The goal of the operation, however, seems to deter Tor newcomers and scare active dark web users. According to Motherboard, some of the identified vendors may not even be prosecuted.
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