Record seizure of fentanyl, opioids in largest international darknet trafficking operation
HOUSTON - More than 200 arrests were made and a record number of fentanyl and opioids were seized in what the Department of Justice called the largest international operation against Darknet Trafficking.
RELATED: New street drug 'tranq dope,' rots skin, turns humans into 'zombies' | University of Houston researchers working on anti-fentanyl vaccine
According to a press release from the DOJ, the seizure was part of a large multi-agency with international partners called, Operation SpecTor.
A total of 288 arrests were made, the largest for any Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (JCODE) team and more seizures than any prior operation, including 117 firearms, 850 kg of drugs, 64 of fentanyl or fentanyl-laced narcotics as well as $53.4 million in cash and virtual currency.
SUGGESTED: Acclaimed journalist examines 'Fentanyl Crisis and Cartel Violence' through gun trafficking lens in new book
The operation was described as a coordinated international effort spanning the United States, Europe, and South America to curb fentanyl and opioid trafficking on the dark web.
"Operation SpecTor was a coordinated international law enforcement effort, spanning three continents, to disrupt drug trafficking on the dark web and represents the most funds seized and the highest number of arrests in any coordinated international action led by the Justice Department against drug traffickers on the dark web," said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. "Our message to criminals on the dark web is this: You can try to hide in the furthest reaches of the internet, but the Justice Department will find you and hold you accountable for your crimes."
However, the operation also looked to promote outreach efforts to people in households who have purchased drugs through the darknet and direct them to available resources, so they can get help and limit the death toll from drug overdoses.
MORE STORIES RELATED TO OPIOID EPIDEMIC
"The availability of dangerous substances like fentanyl on dark net marketplaces is helping to fuel the crisis that has claimed far too many American lives," FBI Director Christopher Wray added. "That's why we will continue to join forces with our law enforcement partners around the globe to attack this problem together. The FBI is proud to stand with our domestic and foreign partners as we continue to shine that light into the deepest corners of the dark net and hold those accountable who continue to peddle this poison around the world."