European and American investigators have announced that they have broken up one of the world’s largest online criminal trafficking operations. The “Wall Street Market” darknet platform was taken down for facilitating the sale of a wide variety of illegal items, including drugs and hacking tools. The site has operated since at least 2016.
The operation, which went on for nearly two years, involved the European police agency Europol and authorities in the Netherlands, along with the U.S. and Germany. Ryan White, a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, traveled to Germany for the announcement along with FBI and DEA agents. White said in a statement, “The charges filed in Germany and the United States will significantly disrupt the illegal sale of drugs on the darknet.”
Three German men, ages 31, 22 and 29, were arrested after raids in the states of Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, and North Rhine-Westphalia. The men, Klaus-Martin Frost, Jonathan Kalla and Tibo Lousee, were pinpointed as administrators of the platform. A Brazilian man accused of acting as an online mediator for the website was arrested in Brazil.
Two people based in Los Angeles were also arrested as part of the investigation. One has been accused of selling opiates, such as fentanyl, hydrocodone and oxycodone, procured through the site. The other apparently dealt in methamphetamine, oxycodone, and the prescription drug Adderall. Their names have not been disclosed as the investigation into the customers and sellers on the platform is ongoing.
The Wall Street Market was a platform where cocaine, heroin and other drugs, as well as forged documents and other illegal materials, were sold. It was hosted on the darknet, an encrypted part of the internet accessible only through anonymity-providing tools. The platform had about 5,400 sellers and 1.15 million customer accounts. The suspects took a commission of between 2 percent and 6 percent on the sales.