Record number of people arrested in an international fentanyl operation: DOJ : NPR
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The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that it has made a record number of arrests and seizures in a coordinated international effort to target the sale of fentanyl and opioids on the dark web.
The operation, called SpecTor, began in October 2021 and spread over the United States, Europe and South America. Across the United States and eight other countries, authorities arrested 288 people. They seized 85 kilograms of drugs, 117 firearms and $53 million in cash and online currencies.
“Our message to criminals on the dark web is this: You can try to hide in the farthest reaches of the internet, but the Department of Justice will find you and hold you accountable for your crimes,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland at a press conference. on Tuesday.
Garland said drug traffickers turn to the dark web to sell illegal drugs in exchange for cryptocurrency. The drugs may be advertised as brand name pharmaceuticals but the pills may be counterfeit and laced with fentanyl.
The operation, which was led by the department’s Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (JCODE) team, involved other agencies such as the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and 30 attorney’s offices of -United States.
In the United States alone, 153 people were arrested. Authorities seized 104 illegal guns and more than 200,000 pills, including those containing fentanyl, the DOJ said.
The actions by the DOJ are the latest in the department’s efforts to stop the fentanyl crisis and drug trafficking on the dark web.
Last month, officials said they identified and infiltrated the Mexican drug organization known as the Sinaloa drug cartel, which the DOJ says is largely responsible for the drug crisis. fentanyl that kills tens of thousands of Americans every year.
In 2021, an international effort by the DOJ called Operation DarkHunTor involved the arrests of 150 drug traffickers operating on the dark web and the seizure of $32 million in cash and cryptocurrencies.