International law enforcement agencies have announced the shutdown of the Wall Street Market and the Valhalla Marketplace, two dark web marketplaces known for the sale of drugs, stolen data and other illicit materials.
Europol announced Friday that Germany’s Federal Criminal Police shuttered the Wall Street Market, one of the most popular markets, and arrested three suspects accused of running the site. The forum was accessible only with the Tor browser, and featured more than 1.15 million customer accounts and 5,400 registered sellers who accepted payments in bitcoin and Monero, Europol said.
The Valhalla Marketplace, also known as Silkkitie, was shut down earlier this year by French and Finnish authorities.
“These two investigations show the importance of law enforcement cooperation at an international level and demonstrate that illegal activity on the dark web is not as anonymous as criminals may think,” Catherine De Bolle, Europol’s executive director, said in a statement.
The three men arrested in Germany for their alleged involvement in operating the Wall Street Market are aged 22, 29, and 31. Investigators say the suspects took commissions of between 2 and 6 percent of sales on that site. The defendants also face charges in the U.S., the Department of Justice announced Friday.
The seizure of the Wall Street Market first was reported Thursday by ZDNet.
Wall Street Market’s downfall this week came after a two-week span in which the site’s administrators stole $14.2 million worth of cryptocurrency from users and vendors in an apparent exit scam, ZDNet reported.
At one point, one of the site’s moderators began threatening members, saying they would provide their details to law enforcement unless they paid a blackmail fee worth roughly $280. Days later, according to ZDNet, the moderator published an IP address and login credentials for the Wall Street Market, essentially publicizing the forum’s server location.
The law enforcement takedown occurred roughly one week after that.