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FBI, IRS, DEA and SF Prosecutors Shut Down Multi-billion-dollar ‘Hydra’ Cryptocurrency in Darknet

Defendant’s organization – and the international crime enterprise he ran – sound like the plot of a James Bond movie.

In an astonishing statement this week, Attorney General Merrick Garland revealed that the U.S. Attorney General’s Office in San Francisco is leading a lawsuit filed by Brain from Russia accused of managing Hydra, the world’s largest and longest-running, longest-running cryptocurrency market, which federal agencies say are Stop the business.

In 2021, Hydra Market accounted for about 80% of all transactions related to the Darknet market in cryptocurrencies, and since 2015, the market has received about $ 5.2 billion in cryptocurrencies, according to federal prosecutors.

The seizure of Hydra servers and cryptocurrency wallets took place in Germany, where the German Federal Criminal Police (Federal Criminal Investigation Department) coordinated efforts with U.S. law enforcement agencies.

“The Department of Justice will be relentless in our efforts to hold those who break our laws accountable – no matter where they are or how they try to hide their crimes,” Garland said.

“Together with our German law enforcement partners, we have grasped the infrastructure of the world’s largest Darknet market, but our work is far from over,” the Attorney General said. “We will continue to work alongside our international and inter-agency partners to disrupt and dismantle the Darknet markets, and to hold those who commit their crimes in the dark network accountable for their actions.”

“Hydra’s successful concept, the largest Darknet market in the world, has dismantled digital infrastructures that enabled a wide range of criminals – including Russian cybercriminals, crypto-currency lenders and money launderers who support them and others, and FBI Director Christopher Ray. “Today’s announcement is a testament to the strength and power of our law enforcement partnerships here and around the world – and another example of our strategy to broadly target the entire illegal ecosystem that prevents and enables crime.”

“This coordinated action sends a clear message to anyone trying to operate or support an online criminal enterprise sponsored by the Dark Web,” said Stephanie M. Hinds, the U.S. Attorney for California’s Northern California District.

“This action also underscores the importance of international law enforcement cooperation. The Ministry of Justice will not allow Darknet markets and cryptocurrencies to be a safe haven for money laundering and the sale of hacking tools and services,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Or. Monaco. “Our message needs to be clear: we will continue to follow the Darknet markets and those who exploit them. Together with our partners in Germany and around the world, we will continue our work to disrupt the ecosystem that enables these criminal players to operate.”

Hydra was an online criminal marketplace that allowed users in Russian-speaking countries primarily to buy and sell illicit goods and services, including illegal drugs, stolen financial information, forged identification documents and money laundering and mixing services, anonymously and out of law. Enforcement, according to prosecutors.

Transactions on Hydra were made in cryptocurrencies and Hydra operators charged a fee for each transaction made on Hydra.

Simultaneously with Hydra’s shutdown, court officials also filed a criminal indictment against Dmitry Olgovitch Pavlov, 30, a resident of Russia, for conspiracy to distribute drugs and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with its operation and management of the servers used for its operation. Hydra.

As of November 2015 or so, it was alleged that Pavlov operated a company, Promservice Ltd., also known as All Wheel Drive and 4x4host.ru, which managed Hydra’s servers (Promservice).

During that time, Pavlov, through his company Promservice, managed Hydra’s servers, which allowed the market to act as a platform used by thousands of drug dealers and other illegal suppliers to distribute large quantities of illegal drugs and other illegal goods to thousands of buyers, and launder billions of dollars from illegal transactions These legality.

As an active manager in Hydra’s server hosting, Pavlov ostensibly contacted Hydra’s other operators to further the site’s success by providing the critical infrastructure that enabled Hydra to operate and thrive in a competitive net-market environment. In doing so, it was alleged that Pavlov facilitated Hydra’s operations and allowed Hydra to reap commissions worth millions of dollars generated from the illegal sales made through the site.

“The dark web has been a major online marketplace for the sale of lethal drugs worldwide,” said Director Ann Milgram of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“The availability of banned substances and money laundering services offered by Hydra threaten the safety and health of remote communities,” she said. “Dark network criminals are hiding behind the illusion of anonymity, but the DEA and our partners around the world are watching. We will continue to investigate, expose and take action against criminal networks, no matter where they operate.”

Milgram praised the DEA’s investigative work of the Miami Anti – Narcotics Cyber ​​Investigation Task Force, the Cyber ​​Support Division and the Special Operations Division.

“The Hydra darknet site provided a platform for criminals who thought they were beyond the reach of law enforcement to buy and sell drugs and illegal services,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Prime Minister Jim Lee.

He said the IRS cybercrime unit used the expertise in tracking cryptocurrencies to help download this site, he told me.

“The liquidation of Hydra Market, the largest supplier of illicit goods and services in the dark web, sends a message to these e-criminal criminals who think they can operate with impunity,” said Miami-based Homeland Security Investigator Anthony Salisbury.

According to the indictment, Hydra suppliers can create on-site accounts to advertise their illegal products, and buyers can create accounts to view and purchase the suppliers’ products, federal prosecutors said.

Hydra suppliers have offered a variety of illicit drugs for sale, including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, LSD and other opioids, according to prosecutors. Vendors openly advertised their medications on Hydra, usually including photographs and a description of the controlled substance. Buyers rated the sellers and their products according to a five-star rating system, and the vendor ratings and vendor reviews were prominently displayed on the Hydra website.

Hydra has also introduced many vendors that sell false identification documents. Users could search for vendors that sell the type of identification document they want, from U.S. passports to driver’s licenses, and filter or sort by item price. Many vendors of false identification documents have offered to customize the documents based on photos or other information provided by buyers, the Justice Department said in a press release this week.

Many suppliers have also sold burglary tools and Hydra burglary services. Hacking providers have generally offered to illegally access online accounts of the buyer’s choice. This way, buyers could select their victims and hire professional hackers to gain access to the victims ‘communications and take over the victims’ accounts.

Hydra providers also offered a strong set of money laundering and so-called “cash”, which allowed Hydra users to convert their Bitcoin (BTC) into a variety of forms of currencies supported by Hydra’s wide range of providers. In addition, Hydra offered an internal mixing service to bleach and then process suppliers’ strokes.

Mixing service allows customers, for a fee, to send Bitcoin to dedicated recipients in a way designed to hide the origin or owner of the bitcoin. Hydra’s money laundering features were so sought after that some users set up shell vendor accounts with the express purpose of withdrawing money through Hydra’s Bitcoin wallets as a laundering technique.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Claudia A. Quiros and Robert S. Leach of the U.S. Northern District Attorney’s Office and Attorneys C. Elden Flaker and Kristen M. Gallagher of the Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Division of the Criminal Division is prosecuting the case.

FBI, IRS, DEA and SF Prosecutors Shut Down Multi-billion-dollar ‘Hydra’ Cryptocurrency in Darknet Source link FBI, IRS, DEA and SF Prosecutors Shut Down Multi-billion-dollar ‘Hydra’ Cryptocurrency in Darknet

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