Law enforcement officials in the cities of Koblenz and Oldenburg, Germany, reported neutralizing "arguably the largest illegal market on the darknet," called DarkMarket. Police also arrested a 34-year-old Australian citizen who allegedly operated the platform.
The site sold illegal substances, counterfeit money, stolen credit card details, anonymous SIM cards, and malware, authorities said. The underground market had half a million users, and earnings reached $ 170 million.
At the time of DarkMarket's closure, more than 2.4 thousand sellers were using the services of the underground market.
The shutdown of DarkMarket was not the first action on the part of the German authorities to combat the underground market. In 2019, Koblenz prosecurots announced the discovery of darknet servers hosted from a former NATO bunker in a sleepy German town.
"A total of at least 320,000 transactions were carried out via the marketplace, with more than 4,650 Bitcoin and 12,800 Monero - two of the most common cryptocurrencies - changing hands," Oldenburg authorities added.
Authorities say the probe that uncovered DarkMarket involved a months-long international law enforcement operation.