US Justice Department shuts down Russian dark web marketplace Hydra

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The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has shut down Hydra Market, one of the world’s largest darknet marketplaces. On Tuesday, the DOJ and German federal police seized Hydra’s servers and cryptocurrency wallets containing $25 million worth of bitcoin.

Hydra was an online criminal marketplace where primarily Russian users bought and sold illicit goods and services, including illegal drugs, stolen financial information, fraudulent identification documents, and money laundering and mixing services.

Transactions on Hydra were conducted in cryptocurrency with the operators earning revenue by charging a commission for every transaction conducted on the market.

In 2021, Hydra accounted for an estimated 80% of all darknet market-related cryptocurrency transactions, and since 2015, the marketplace has received approximately $5.2 billion in cryptocurrency, the DOJ said.

“The successful seizure of Hydra, the world’s largest darknet marketplace, dismantled digital infrastructures which had enabled a wide range of criminals — including Russian cybercriminals, the cryptocurrency tumblers, and money launderers that support them and others, and drug traffickers,” said FBI director Christopher Wray.   

Along with shutting down Hydra’s servers, the DOJ also issued criminal charges against Russian resident Dmitry Olegovich Pavlov for conspiracy to distribute narcotics and conspiracy to commit money laundering in

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