Europol has cracked down on another darknet crime ring. Several individuals have been arrested on suspicion of buying counterfeit Euro bills. Forged currency remains one of the most popular products to be bought and sold on underground marketplaces.
Another Victory for Europol
It is crucial for agencies such as Europol to nip criminal activity in the bud at an early stage. One of the many fraudulent darknet crime rings on the agency’s radar has now been shut down. No less than 11 individuals have been arrested across multiple EU Member States.
The investigation into this counterfeit Euro ring culminated in joint raids between December 9 and 11. With the help of law enforcement agencies across seven EU Member States, 36 house searches were conducted successfully.
In the process, 44 suspects have been detained for further questioning. Of those 44 individuals, 11 have been placed under arrest, with more to potentially follow in the weeks to come.
Officials also seized weapons, drugs, counterfeit Euro banknotes, illegal medicines, forged documents, and an undisclosed virtual currency. It seems plausible to assume that virtual currency is Bitcoin, the most commonly used payment method among criminals on the darknet.
Counterfeit Euro Bills Remain a Problem
Fake currency bills have been a problem for several decades. With the increase in darknet-related activity, those problems have only grown bigger in the process. These joint raids are the result of dismantling a digital print ship in Portugal earlier this year.
The evidence collected during the raid indicated thousands of counterfeit Euro bills were shipped to customers across the European union. Among the products being offered for sale are counterfeit 10 euro and 50 euro bills.
It is believed over 26,000 counterfeit Euro banknotes have been shipped to buyers all over Europe. It is unclear how many of these bills have been used in the real world, however. Spending fake currency has become increasingly difficult following new countermeasures introduced in most retail locations.