DOJ Completes Largest Crackdown Operation in Years

DOJ Orders Largest Crackdown Operation in Years

( – The opioid crisis has absolutely ravaged the United States. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is driving record overdoses. Some of those drugs have been trafficked on the darknet, and the US just participated in a massive crackdown.

On Tuesday, May 2, the Justice Department’s Office of Public Affairs issued a press release announcing the completion of a sting with its international partners and the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (JCODE) team. Operation SpecTor resulted in the arrests of 288 individuals across nine countries in North America, South America, and Europe.

The operation was intended to disrupt opioid trafficking on the darknet. In addition to the arrests, law enforcement seized about 1,874 pounds of drugs, including 141 pounds of fentanyl and fentanyl-laced products. The narcotics were worth an estimated $51 million.

Merrick B. Garland, the attorney general, said the operation resulted in the most arrests and the most seized funds than any other coordinated international operation led by the DOJ. He spoke directly to traffickers who are using the dark web, telling them that they can try to hide online, but the DOJ will find them.

More than 100 of the arrests took place in the US. Some of those prosecutions include the arrest and indictment of Christopher Hampton of California. He was charged with leading an organization that created fake pills with fentanyl and could land him in prison for life. Anton Peck of Florida was also arrested, convicted, and sentenced to 16 years in prison for the intent to distribute controlled substances.

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram blamed the Jalisco and Sinaloa cartels for the flow of opioids, including fentanyl, into the US. She said they are using any route available to do that, including the Internet. The agency is working on “shutting down the fentanyl supply chain from beginning to end.”

The international alliance to disrupt the fentanyl chain is ongoing.

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