“Operation Darkness Falls” Leads to Arrest of Top Dark Web Drug Vendors

Written by Nitish Singh
Last updated June 19, 2021

Operation Darkness falls sanctioned by the United States found its first major breakthrough with the arrest of fentanyl vendors Matthew and Holly Roberts. The couple was responsible for selling fentanyl and were known to be the two of the most prolific drug vendors in the dark web. The couple’s operations extended to multiple popular trading websites. Other lower-profile arrests have also been made with Xanax dealer Nick Powell and a guilty plea by Ryan Kluth who sold fentanyl and child abuse images. Canadian authorities arrested Robert Kiessling who is known as the third biggest fentanyl dealer in North America.

Dark Web does not necessarily mean it is home to illegal activities and trade. Many whistleblowers are able to share information, and legitimate websites like Facebook are also available to browse using onion routing. However, anonymity is the biggest draw of the dark web which has led to a number of drug marketplaces being formed and everything from weapons to narcotics are sold. Cryptocurrency is a popular means of transactions as it helps keep identities private and all products purchased are delivered via postal mail.

Despite activity in the dark web being difficult to track down, legal authorities often find security flaws in popular websites and trading portals to nab criminals. The Department of Justice’s Operation Darkness Falls had law enforcement officials posing as a bitcoin exchange to nab criminals via fake money laundering offers which lured them.

It is not just the United States that is cracking down on the illegal activities online. The FBI, DEA, Homeland Security, and the US Postal Inspection Service are all working together to nab criminals operating in the dark web. Europe’s Europol is also actively cracking down on criminals operating anonymously.

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