Two Israelis arrested in international dark web takedown involving FBI

Men suspected of helping run site that facilitated the purchase of drugs, weapons; bust includes arrests in several other countries

Illustrative: A hacker at work. (supershabashnyi, iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative: A hacker at work. (supershabashnyi, iStock by Getty Images)

Two Israelis have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in running a website on the so-called dark web that facilitated the purchase of weapons, drugs and other contraband, authorities said Tuesday.

As part of an international operation targeting the dark web, FBI investigators working with multiple countries brought about the arrest of several individuals suspected of managing the Deepdotweb site, which referred users to darknet sites where they could buy weaponry, drugs, stolen credit card information and more.

Arrests were made in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil and Israel — where police tracked down and on Monday arrested a 35-year-old resident of Tel Aviv and a 34-year-old resident of Ashdod.

Deepdotweb’s administrators are believed to have made millions of dollars in commission through their referrals.

On Friday, European and American investigators announced they had broken up one of the world’s largest online criminal marketplaces for drugs, hacking tools and financial theft wares in raids in the United States, Germany and Brazil.

Three German men, ages 31, 22 and 29, were arrested after the raids in three southern states on allegations they operated the so-called “Wall Street Market” darknet platform, which hosted about 5,400 sellers and more than 1 million customer accounts, Frankfurt prosecutor Georg Ungefuk told reporters in Wiesbaden.

Pieces of evidence like banknotes and luxury watches are presented on May 3, 2019 at a press conference in Wiesbaden, Germany, about European and American investigators breaking up one of the world’s largest online criminal trafficking operations (Silas Stein/dpa via AP)

A Brazilian man, the site’s alleged moderator, was also charged. In addition, two people US prosecutors said were top WSM vendors and major drug dealers operating out of Los Angeles were also arrested.

In the nearly two-year operation involving European police agency Europol and authorities in the Netherlands as well as the US and Germany, investigators pinpointed the three men as administrators of the platform on the dark web.

The dark web is a part of the internet often used by criminals that is hosted within an encrypted network and accessible only through anonymity-providing tools, such as the Tor browser.

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