Wall Street Market, dark web marketplace, targeted in international takedown
Law enforcement officials in the U.S. and abroad have touted the takedown of Wall Street Market, an illegal dark web marketplace regarded as one of the world’s largest.
Authorities have charged three German nationals and a Brazilian with crimes related to the website, which allowed vendors and customers to buy and sell illegal goods, including drugs, for virtual currency.
Preceded by similarly shuttered marketplaces such as Silk Road and AlphaBay, both the Department of Justice and Europol described Wall Street Marketplace as among the largest sites of its sort.
Upwards of 5,400 merchants more than a million customers used the site prior to it being shuttered as the result of a nearly two-year-long investigation involving the Department of Justice and partners in South American and Europe, law enforcement agencies said in statements announcing their actions.
Among the site’s top vendors during its existences were merchants selling deadly opioids including fentanyl, oxycodone and hydrocodone, the Justice Department said in a statement.
“This operation sends a crystal-clear message: dark markets offer no safe haven,” said Brian Benczkowski, the assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s criminal division.
The three Germans identified by outlets as Tibo Lousee, Jonathan Kalla and Klaus-Martin Frost are accused of administrating the website and have each been charged in Los Angeles federal court with counts of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and distribution and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. They were arrested in Germany where they also face charges.
Marcos Paulo De Oliveira-Annibale, of So Paulo, was separately charged Wednesday in Sacramento federal court with counts of drug distribution and money laundering charges. Using the handle “MED3LIN,” he allegedly served as a moderator on the site and resolved disputes between buyers and sellers, according to the Justice Department.
“We are on the hunt for even the tiniest of breadcrumbs to identify criminals on the dark web,” said McGregor W. Scott, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California. “The prosecution of these defendants shows that even the smallest mistake will allow us to figure out a cybercriminal’s true identity. As with defendant Marcos Annibale, forum posts and pictures of him online from years ago allowed us to connect the dots between him and his online persona.”