Law enforcement in the Netherlands claim that they have arrested the operators of the DutchMasters darkweb vendor shop. This is a popular dark web vendor shop, that is well known among users of the darkweb, they are a well-known vendor of ecstasy on the darkweb markets and they operate their own vendor shop.
Netherlands Law Enforcement published press release, where officials claimed that they damaged the “credibility and reliability of these webshops.” They also pointed out the vendors profile on Wallstreet Market, the largest mainstream marketplace at the time of its take-down. Prosecutors in Netherlands started investigating DutchMasters in May 2019 (the same month international authorities arrested the administrators of the Wall Street Market).
According to the announcement, the six suspects allegedly earned tens of millions of euros, from selling drugs on the darkweb. According to law Enforcement the investigation into the Dutchmasters vendor account focused on four things:
- removing DutchMasters from the internet
- identifying those behind the darkweb brand
- destroying the infrastructure used to reach international buyers
- seizing the profits of the drug trafficking operation.
The suspects include men and women from Amsterdam, Diemen, and Assendelft. Duth authorities have publicly identified the roles of two of the arrested suspects; one suspect moderated the darkweb accounts and the other suspect worked as a package courier. During the raids, law enforcement seized:
- a Porsche
- bundles of cash
- electronic storage devices
- drug manufacturing equipment
Law Enforcement believe that the group had a strong influence on the ecstasy trade outside of their vendor profiles and stores. Other investigations that involved the seizure of ecstasy and manufacturing equipment had an effect on the DutchMaster supply chain. In September 2020, after law enforcement in the raided an MDMA manufacturing lab in Netherlands, DutchMasters stopped selling ecstasy. This apparently had an impact on their immediate supply.
A message to users of darkweb drug markets from the Netherlands Police:
Sellers, buyers, and also managers of illegal webshops often feel anonymous and elusive to the police […]. By conducting investigations into these criminals, it becomes clear that the darknet is not at all as anonymous as users may think.
However, in a weird turn of events the DutchMasters vendor shop and forum are both still online and do not have seizure banners.