European law enforcement agency Europol has taken down an underground marketplace on darknet that was booked for promoting child pornography and selling illegal goods.
In a statement made right after the darknet’s shutdown, Europol credited the Italian police department as its ally in driving their two-year long “Operation Babylon” to its rightful conclusion. They recognize the undercover officers, who penetrated into the illegal community, and leaked details back to their departments. The investigation agencies was also cooperating with the FBI with hopes to identify each and every customer associated with the now-dead darknet platform.
As far the reports are suggesting, the website in darknet had over 14,000 members from around the world. Ever since the inception of the darknet market, these members conducted around 17,000 anonymized ”Tor-based” transactions, probably to purchase child pornography, drugs, weapons, fake passports, hacker kits, credit card details, and many other illegal goods.
Among these 14,000 members, around 210 were also found to be major drug dealers, including a notorious an Italian drug lord, masked behind an online identity of “Pablo Escobar”. The police, however, never released any further details about this mystery man.
“The virtual world of the Dark Web has its own hierarchies and severe rules on access and affiliation,” ,” Michele Prestipino, a public prosecutor involved with the investigation said in a press statement. “Getting into such a closed community was extremely difficult.”
“There is an incredible criminal world, parallel to The Internet, which paradoxically represents only a small part of the communications taking place over the Web. For us this investigation is just a point of departure.”
Bitcoin worth €1m Seized
Europol also informed that it has seized around 14,000 Bitcoin wallets during the crackdown, which were found to be containing Bitcoins worth around 1 million Euros. The website is speculated to have been operated by an Italian living in Naples.
The Police has reported no arrests until now.