European law enforcement agency Europol and the Spanish Civil Guard recently seized $5.2 million in bitcoin other cryptocurrencies, along with 800,000 doses of LSD, in what’s being described as the largest LSD bust the continent has ever seen.
According to Fortune, authorities also seized €3.3 million ($3.85 million) in fiat currency and real estate, and 10 luxury vehicles. Eight individuals running what was described as an “organized crime group” were arrested.
The group had reportedly been active since at least 2012, and sold drugs in over 100 countries through a darknet marketplaces. They camouflaged their products as legal ones, in an attempt to pass them off as everyday items. Two drug laboratories were shut down after authorities searched six houses in Spain and one in Austria.
In a statement, Europol revealed the group was well-known on darknet marketplaces:
Two of the web pages managed by the organization enjoyed a great reputation, being the most known and exclusive worldwide in this field.
Notably, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has recently seized $20 million worth of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in an operation that led to the arrest of 35 dark web drug vendors. A total of 2,000 BTC is still believed to be with the arrested sellers.
While it isn’t clear what cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin were seized, popular cryptocurrencies used on the darknet include Litecoin and privacy-centric Monero. Cryptocurrencies seized by authorities are usually auctioned off when the cases they were seized from are finished.
In 2017, US authorities made $48 million actioning bitcoin seized from the now-defunct Silk Road marketplace. Earlier this year, they auctioned $52 million worth of the flagship cryptocurrency seized from drug dealers.
Authorities have been cracking down on dark web marketplaces, as last year an international operation saw authorities take down AlphaBay and control Hansa to collect information on its users, before shutting it down.
As reported, a darknet market vendor known as “OxyMonster” was recently arrested after being tracked down through his bitcoin transactions.