Düsseldorf Police Take Down Crimemarket, Arrest Operators

In Germany, the Düsseldorf police conducted a raid against Crimemarket, the largest German-speaking marketplace for illegal trade, which had amassed a community of over 180,000 users. The operation resulted in the arrest of six individuals, including one of the site’s operators.

Crimemarket was notorious as a central hub for transactions involving banned substances and cybercrime services. The market also offered guides and instructions for committing various criminal activities.

The investigation leading to these arrests spanned several years and involved numerous searches that helped identify the platform’s operators and many of its users.

As part of a coordinated effort, which saw participation from investigators across Germany and abroad, a total of 102 searches were conducted nationwide on the evening of February 29, 2024.

The focus of the operation was largely in North Rhine-Westphalia, where three individuals were arrested, including a 23-year-old man believed to be the prime suspect. An additional three arrests occurred in other federal states of Germany. The police confiscated a vast array of evidence, including mobile phones, computer equipment, and data storage devices.

According to the police, the operation targeted not only the operators of the Crimemarket platform but also its users. The investigation into the criminal network is still ongoing.

At the beginning of last week, Crimemarket users began reporting issues accessing the site, sparking rumors of a possible connection to the takedown of ChipMixer, a service used by the platform for laundering payments. However, an official police announcement confirmed that the access issues were indeed caused by law enforcement actions.

Despite the seizure of data, the main page of the site remains accessible, but any attempt to navigate to other pages results in a notice of the platform’s confiscation.

The notice informs that the police had been monitoring this platform and its content for a long time as part of a coordinated operation across Europe, and all the platform’s data has currently been seized.

From this, it appears the police decided to allow cyber criminals to continue using the platform after its confiscation to gather identification data, login credentials, and other compromising information. However, it is unlikely that any lawbreakers will now dare to use it.

The confiscation of the Crimemarket platform is undoubtedly a significant step in combating crime in Germany. Such targeted police operations are an important measure in cleansing cyberspace and creating a safer environment for internet users.