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Dutch and German coppers shut down online drug net

Utopia is nowhere
Thu Feb 13 2014, 13:15

FIVE PEOPLE have been arrested by Dutch and German coppers on suspicion of involvement in an online drugs market called Utopia.

Dutch authorities announced the successful operation that they called Commodore, saying that they and their European partners had swooped down on and arrested five people, two of which they alleged had been involved in Blackmarket reloaded.

Utopia is described as a black market in drugs and other contraband that used Tor. Drugs and guns were on sale through the website, according to the statement, along with counterfeit goods. 

Utopia's servers were based in Germany and law enforcement officers there raided its hosting provider and placed a "this site is seized" notice on the website's front page.

Three Dutch suspects were arrested on suspicion of running the website, another on suspicion of selling drugs through its webpages. The latter chap had already been arrested for moving narcotics and he was re-arrested in his cell. A fifth man was arrested in Germany, although the extent of his crimes is unclear due the inclusion of "probably" in the authorities' statement.

"The man offered probably not only hard drugs, but also ammunition and stolen credit cards and debit cards for sale," it said.

The shutdown of Utopia follows the shutdown of the Silk Road marketplace and the Blackmarket reloaded operation. The Dutch police launched Commodore last year when it realised that quantities of drugs and other illegal goods were being moved anonymously through hidden Tor websites. It said that while anonymisation makes things tricky, "Nobody [is] untouchable".

During a sting operation law enforcement officers bought cocaine and MDMA and weapons through the website. There followed raids on a number of premises. During the raids computer hardware and 900 Bitcoins were seized. µ


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