Members of the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team shut down 50 Darknet accounts used for illegal activities, and international law enforcement agencies made 61 arrests as a result of Operation SaboTor, the second coordinated international effort targeting drug trafficking organizations operating on the Darknet.
Law enforcement executed 65 search warrants, conducted 122 interviews, and seized a total of 299.5 kilograms of drugs, 51 firearms, and more than $7 million ($4.5 million in cryptocurrency, $2.48 million in cash, and $40,000 in gold).
(Operation SaboTor, a multi-agency law enforcement action between January and March that targeted opioid sales on the Darknet, included this search of a vehicle and a residence. The search was the result of an eight-month investigation that led to five arrests. Courtesy of the FBI and YouTube. Posted on Mar 26, 2019.)
Participating agencies also engaged in public education efforts regarding the dangers of opioid abuse during the operation.
Aimed at having a global impact on the opioid epidemic, Operation SaboTor was conducted over four days (Jan. 11, 2019 through March 12, 2019), and was composed of a series of separate but complementary joint operations.
The operation was a collaborative effort across the J-CODE entities, which includes the following agencies:
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)
The Department of Justice (DOJ)
The Department of Defense (DoD), with participation from international partners during the Cyber Patrol Action Week at Europol
By leveraging partnerships and surging resources across the U.S. Government and Europol, Operation SaboTor was successfully used to detect and disrupt the most prolific opioid vendors on the Darknet, and dismantle criminal enterprises which facilitated their opioid trafficking.
“This successful operation sends a strong message that DEA, together with our law enforcement partners, will disrupt, dismantle and destroy drug trafficking organizations that bring poison into our communities,” explained DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon.
“DEA’s greatest tool is our relationship with our federal, state, local and international law enforcement partners who stand with us every day to fight this epidemic.”
“Drug traffickers will be held accountable for the pain and death they cause, regardless of what technology they use.”
“Law enforcement is most effective when we work together, and J-CODE is the global tip of the spear in the fight against online opioid trafficking,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“Criminals have always adopted innovations and new technologies to achieve their illicit goals, and it’s our job to adapt and remain ahead of the threat.”
“Operation SaboTor demonstrates not only the strength of our partnerships across the U.S. Government and abroad, but how we’re able to capitalize on those partnerships to disrupt criminal activity, even when they try to hide it on the Darknet.”
“Homeland Security Investigations, together with its law enforcement partners, has proven, once again, the selling of illicit items on the Darknet will not be tolerated in the United States,” said Executive Associate Director Derek Benner, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“Operation SaboTor sends a clear message to criminals that no matter how or where crimes are committed, nothing is beyond the reach of the law.”
“We will use every possible means to find them, take apart their organizations, and leave them with nothing.”
“Postal inspectors and our law enforcement partners are using tried and true investigative techniques combined with the latest cutting-edge technology to identify those responsible for opioid trafficking and bring them to justice,” said Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale.
“Operation SaboTor is a major step forward in the journey to combat the opioid epidemic and protect our citizens from dangerous drugs.”
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service will continue to work tirelessly alongside our J-CODE partners to keep our communities safe.”
“The Darkweb is not as dark as you think,” explained Europol Executive Director Catherine De Bolle.
“When you buy or sell illegal goods online, you are not hidden from law enforcement and you are putting yourself in danger.”
“This international coordinated approach demonstrates law enforcement’s determination to tackle crime on the Darkweb and to reduce the number of people who fall victim to criminals selling life-endangering products or scamming them for their own gain.”
The investigations leading up to Operation SaboTor also included support and resources from the DEA; FBI; HSI; CBP; USPIS; DOD; DOJ’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section, Organized Crime and Gang Section and Special Operations Division; and Europol and their Cyber Patrol team.