WASHINGTON – A globally coordinated law enforcement action against the buyers and sellers of illicit drugs and other illegal activities using Darknet global marketplaces was conducted Oct. 22 to 28.
“Operation Hyperion” was initiated by U.S. federal law enforcement, the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States) and members of Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, as the first step in developing a more unified global law enforcement response to the growing usage of the Darknet by individuals seeking to buy and sell illicit drugs and other illegal goods and services.
While illegal drugs continue to be the biggest item purchased and sold on Darknet marketplaces, law enforcement agencies around the world are also seeing counterfeit prescription drugs and other counterfeit items, dangerous and deadly synthetic drugs like Fentanyl, deadly toxins, fake and stolen identities, identity documents and stolen credit card data, as well as illegal services like computer hacking, murder for hire and money laundering.
Operation Hyperion resulted in a number of law enforcement leads on cases related to the buying and selling of illicit drugs and other goods on the Darknet. This operation will also help law enforcement agencies continue to combat the trafficking of illicit goods and services on the Darknet through the identification of new smuggling networks and trends.
Law enforcement agencies participating in the operation included: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Secret Service (USSS), Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and various state and local entities.
International partners included Europol the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency; Australian Federal Police; New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs Service; Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada Post and Canada Border Services Agency; The Netherlands; French Customs National Intelligence and Investigations Directorate; Finnish Customs; Swedish Police Authority and Swedish Customs; Ireland’s Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau; and Spain’s Guardia Civil.
The operation was supported by CBP’s National Targeting Center and coordinated by HSI’s Cyber Division.