In a joint operation, French police, the National Directorate of Intelligence and Customs Investigations (DNRED) have shut down one of the largest illegal dark web marketplaces “Black Hand” known for selling drugs, weapons, databases, stolen banking data, and fake documents.
According to a statement from the Minister of Public Action and Accounts, Mr. Gérald Darmanin on Saturday, authorities also arrested Black Hand’s main administrator and several other people.
Furthermore, after gaining access to Black Market’s server, authorities seized falsified documents, 4,000 Euros in cash and around 25,000 Euros in various virtual currencies – Numerous pieces of computer equipment were also seized during the operation.
An analysis of the data showed there were more than 3,000 users who used the marketplace from France, indicating that the website was pretty active in the country for supplying drugs, weapons, and other illegal content.
“This exceptional operation, the first of its kind in France, took place simultaneously in several cities in France and mobilized more than forty DNRED and Customs agents, and several technical experts,” Minister of Public Action and Accounts said [PDF] in a statement.
“I congratulate the DNRED agents for this extraordinary operation. The dismantling of this platform is a first at the national level and illustrates the mobilization of the customs and in particular, the DNRED in the fight against the new forms of cybercrime,” said Darmanin.
This is the second dark web related news that came from France within the last couple of days. On June 16th, French police announced that they arrested a vendor Gal Vallerius (OxyMonster on the dark web) in September last year, who has now pleaded guilty to selling drugs on the dark web.
Moreover, this is not the first time when authorities in Europe have busted an active dark web marketplace. Last year, Hansa and AlphaBay marketplaces were also seized by Dutch police. However, the administrator for AlphaBay reportedly committed suicide in a Thai prison.