(ICE photo)

Feds J-CODE Task Force Busts 61 for Opioid Trafficking on Darknet

The Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) task force executed 65 search warrants, seizing 299.5 kilograms of drugs, 51 firearms, and more than $7 million in cryptocurrency, cash and gold, in an operation targeting Darknet drug markets authorities said.

Operation SaboTor, a coordinated international effort targeting drug trafficking organizations operating on the Darknet was J-CODE’s second coordinated action and follows the success of last year’s Operation Disarray.

As a result of Operation SaboTor, U.S. and international law enforcement agencies made 61 arrests and shut down 50 Darknet accounts used for illegal activity. Law enforcement also conducted 122 interviews.

In addition, participating agencies engaged in public education efforts regarding the dangers of opioid abuse during the operation.

“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.”

Operation SaboTor was conducted between January 11 and March 12, 2019 and was composed of a series of separate but complementary joint operations, all aimed at making a global impact on the opioid epidemic. The operation was a collaborative effort across the J-CODE entities, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Department of Justice (DOJ), and 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 used to detect and disrupt the most prolific opioid vendors on the Darknet and dismantle the criminal enterprises facilitating their opioid trafficking.

“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,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said. “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.”

Read more at ICE

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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