The Dutch public prosecution service is reporting that Dutch and German police have shut down and seized assets of Utopia, a dark net website only accessible via the Tor network used to trade illegal goods such as drugs, stolen credit card numbers, and weaponry similar to the Silk Road website shut down last year by American authorities.
Five individuals with ties to the marketplace have been arrested and taken into custody, and authorities have seized about 900 bitcoins, worth about $595,000 at the time of this writing.
Those arrested range from ages 21 to 46 and are Dutch with the exception of one, from Germany. Accusations range from selling hard drugs to attempt to incite murder.
As part of the operation, authorities managed to purchase raw MDMA, several thousand ecstasy pills, and “dozens of grams” of cocaine, according to the prosecutor’s report. Reminiscent of the Silk Road case, authorities posed as hit men, and received a deposit to commit an assassination.
Only nine days old, Utopia had already reached over 13,000 listings (with price quotes in Euros) by the time it was taken offline Tuesday. Visitors are now presented with the Dutch National Police’s logo and a message which reads “This hidden service has been seized.” [via BBC via Openbaar Ministerie]