A partnership between US and international law enforcement resulted 288 arrests and seizures of $53+ million in cash and cryptocurrencies.
The operation was called Operation SpecTor, according to an interview with Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday.
"The Department of Justice is cracking down on criminal cryptocurrency transactions," Garland said, "and the online criminal markets that enable them."
Dozens of firearms and more than 850kg of drugs were also seized in Operation SpecTor, apparently named after the dark web browsing protocol. The operation was coordinated with Europol and resulted in the seizure of a dark-web market called Monopoly Market, according to a press release from the European agency.
The operation began in October 2021, Garland said.
The Justice Department said 153 American suspects were arrested, including a California man who allegedly sold nearly $2 million worth of fentanyl and methamphetamine on the dark web.
German police first breached the drug market's online infrastructure in December 2021 and worked alongside Europol and other international law enforcement agencies to track down "high-value targets" who were selling drugs and illegal goods around the world.
SpecTor is a continuation of the efforts that disrupted the dark web market Hydra in 2022 and the online identity theft site Genesis Market the 2023.
"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 you will be held accountable for your crimes," Garland said.
Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, US Postal Inspection Service, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Internal Revenue Service's criminal investigative team were involved.
Law enforcement from Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom also participated.