176 investigations started against 226 persons in Norway as part of Operation Incognito, the Scandinavian side of the United States-led Operation Hyperion. Hyperion was a global law enforcement action against dark web criminals (who dealt mostly with narcotics).
Authorities already detained and remanded 12 of the suspects in custody from the Northern region. Most of the suspects are located in the Western part of the country, police information says.
“The results show that drug trafficking has moved into the homes, and that you can order drugs in the mail while sitting with your kids, or in the bedroom. We have, in these cases, managed to break the anonymity of the Darknet,” said Linda Staaf, head of the intelligence unit at the National Police Operations Department in a press release.
Law enforcement authorities in Norway warned dark net buyers that they will be “more suspicious” and there is an expectation of “more efforts like this in the future”.
Operation Hyperion was the first law enforcement action ever coordinated on a global scale against dark web vendors and buyers. It was initiated by the US federal law enforcement and involved agencies in different countries, including the 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.
An official press release was given by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement:
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.
One of the most shocking news for the dark web community was the Netherlands launching a .onion site on the dark net. The website listed the currently active and arrested Dutch vendors and the usernames of the identified dark web buyers.
Soon after Operation Hyperion launched, law enforcement authorities in Australia arrested four suspects. Police executed 11 search warrants in the country and seized narcotics including MDMA, cocaine, cannabis and other illegal substances, according to the Immigration Department.
“While it is not an offense to access such sites, the purchase and importation of illicit goods and services are,” Ian McCartney, the AFP’s national manager of organized crime and cyber, said in a statement. “Last week’s actions demonstrate that law enforcement agencies across the globe are working collaboratively to identify and apprehend those individuals using illicit dark net sites.”
Police conducted numerous arrests in other countries too, including New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and the United States.