Police and Public Prosecutors have dismantled one of the largest drug markets on the Internet in a major international investigation on Thursday. Hansa Market was infiltrated after two arrests, taken over and then taken offline. Thousands of buyers and sellers identities have been discovered.
Hansa Market is one of the largest dark markets since the closing of Alphabay and, according to the police, is currently the most popular on the anonymous part of the internet. The research is being conducted in cooperation with Germany, Lithuania, the United States and Europol. In the Netherlands this week, a top salesman of the marketplace was arrested in Krimpen aan den IJssel. In addition, police seized over a 1000 bitcoins, worth around 2 million euros. The bitcoins have been transferred to an account owned by the public prosecutor.
The fall of Hansa Market is the end of an infiltration operation with the Dutch police in charge of managing the marketplace back in June. This became possible after the detention of the two Hansa Market administrators in Germany. The two German men (from Siegen) aged 30 and 31 are in temporary custody.
Servers in Lithuania hosted the website. Immediately after the arrest of the leaders those servers and related infrastructure was confiscated. Next, an exact copy of the marketplace was transferred to Dutch servers. The darknet site could still be visited by buyers and sellers who did not notice that Hansa Market was taken over by police and public prosecutors in the Netherlands.
From the end of June, the High Tech Crime Team and the Darkweb Team were given a glimpse of the large numbers of sellers and buyers who were mainly trading in hard drugs. Mainly usernames and passwords from buyers and sellers have been intercepted. On average, 1000 orders were made per day out of the total of 40,000 market listings. The market place counted 1765 different sellers. Since taking over the management of Hansa Market there have been more than 50,000 transactions, especially for soft and hard drugs.
The police intercepted tens of thousands of unencrypted messages between sellers and buyers about orders over the past few weeks. With a large number of orders, the delivery address could also be discovered. About 10,000 foreign addresses of buyers on Hansa Market have been passed to Europol. More than 500 Dutch shipping addresses have been reported to post and courier companies in order to stop the deliveries.
After the closing of Silk Road in 2013 and Alpha Bay in July of this year, Hansa Market visitors count grew from 1000 to 8000 per day.