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Dutch Police Arrest One Hansa Buyer in Warning Campaign

Although police in the Netherlands visited the homes of 37 users of the defunct Hansa market in January, they only made a single arrest. The operation, a so called ‘knock-and-talk‘ campaign, served as a threat to some Hansa buyers: more arrests may follow. The buyers who ordered personal amounts of drugs may have dodged a bullet this time, according to the police. But anyone who ordered anything more than a personal amount may face prosecution in the near future.

The police, during their ‘knock-and-talk’ campaign, arrested a 25-year-old man from Wilp. All of the targets in the Public Prosecution Service’s campaign landed on law enforcement’s list for a drug purchase of one kind or another, Wilbert Paulissen, head of the National Criminal Investigation Department said. The Wilp man, compared to some of the recent drug busts of a much larger scale, made a relatively insignificant purchase on the Hansa marketplace. According to the authorities, the 25-year-old had purchased 150 ecstasy pills on the marketplace during the month that Netherlands law enforcement controlled the market’s servers.

According to glaring seizure banners that authorities simultaneously launched on the Alphabay and Hansa homepages last year, Netherlands law enforcement had taken control of Hansa roughly one month before pulling the darknet market’s plug. Thanks to German authorities who received far too little for their role in the operation, Netherlands authorities managed to stealthily take control of Hansa’s servers.

The operation, dubbed ‘Operation Bayonet’ by the FBI, apparently involved a significant amount of planning and international cooperation. While it could have been a fortunate coincidence for law enforcement instead of impressive planning, the outcome was the same. After the FBI pulled the plug on Alphabay servers, users moved to Hansa market, unaware that German authorities had arrested the market’s owners for running an pirated ebook website.

Authorities never revealed the exact methods used to identify Hansa market buyers. They jokingly implied that they had managed to crack Hansa’s “encryption.” The truth is likely far less impressive, though. One scenario some initially discussed was one that pointed to the users accidentally revealing their own identities through the market’s automatic address encryption. The investigators took advantage of the so-called feature and captured plaintext inputs. Or something like that.

From their position as darknet market owners, the authorities found that the 37 drug buyers in the Netherlands purchased LSD, ecstasy, cocaine, or marijuana. Presumably in smaller quantities than the Wilp man’s 150 pill order. While under law enforcement control, buyers around the world made more than 50,000 orders.

Wilbert Paulissen, head of the National Criminal Investigation Department, spoke on the incident. He said that identifying ‘anonymous’ users on the internet was essential. “Now it’s about drugs, but it could be about weapons or child pornography,” he said.


  1. Tor is quickly becoming a meme. Come and join the ‘anonymity’ network where every ‘hidden’ service ends up getting seized and landing people with jail time.

    • magelsior

      Some people give their personal address through darknet markets encryption features and get busted when those markets are eventually taken control of by the police. What’s that got to do with tor ???

      • Although you are right about the address issue, its still fair to say that Tor is quickly becoming untrustworthy to many. Look at how many pedos keep getting caught without any explanation whatsoever, those guys have hardly given out their address yet they still get caught. If they can catch all pedos then they can catch all vendors and buyers, why do you think firearms have vanished from dark net? They still use the playpen exploits to catch people at will, and the devs don’t care.

        • ANON 1.0

          Let’s be honest here, last news I red about a pedo getting caught was only showing how retarded the guy was. He used his real name as a nickname, other than that he used his real email address or something in those lines to register at the disgusting forum he was part of. In the past we have seen vendors getting caught because they never bothered using PGP or other safety methods. Tor does what it says, if we follow the right steps we can be anonymous whenever we want and however we want it.

        • magelsior

          I can’t really agree or disagree with you about that because I don’t have a clue about how this people you’re mentionning where busted ( their negligence, honeypots, …?) and I don’t believe anything to be unbreakable, Tor included. I was just pointing out that this particular news about hansa buyers is not related to a TOR failure to preserve anonymity and your comment felt a bit FUDish to me.

          • Scroll through the recent stories on here and you will see a few hundred articles where people have been caught for CP and there is no mention of methods used, they just got caught without explanation. If Tor was safe then would visiting a honeypot service really matter?
            Dream market is probably a honeypot right now. Lots of strange activity is taking place within the Tor network and nobody seems to care about preservation of anonymity.

            • magelsior

              We can speculate on all this, even imagine in our CRAZYest dreams that some people related to the police read this website we’re on (DDW) everyday, or reddit and whatnot and even comment on it from time to time in order to try and enforce their agenda in people’s head. Wouldn’t you if you were them ??! Friends of mine using Dreammarket quite often never had a single issue on it but it might be run by the police indeed. As long as you encrypt the messages concerning your postal address or your drop with your own PGP key, using a software on your desktop (GPA for example on Ubuntu or even better on tail OS, I would avoid smartphone at any cost), as long as you use a reliable VPN with no logs and strong encryption method + (obviously) TOR on top of it (with the maximum security settings on) risks are pretty limited. But hey, well, yeah, there are always risks. They seem pale, though, in comparison to living this
              ” lot of people have to go to street dealers who don’t know what they’re buying if it has got dangerous chemicals in or has been mixed with harmful stuff with buying from darkenet you know what your buying you can see reviews of what your buying you can see photo of it and it can give you peace of mind that you are buying a good quality product and you are getting it delivered straight to your door so you don’t have to ring up some dodgy bloke and meet them behind a block of flats or in som car park at midnight anyways “(nw10, I found it in Dream reviews)

              And, even if you get busted, they won’t send you to the electric chair because you mail ordered a gram of Amnesia Haze or a couple of 2-c-babes, will they ?

              And even if they did so, at least you have not suffocated in a boring limited law enforced life !
              (I guess you still could buy legal RCs in some RC shop if you want some good substitutes).

              Life is a risky business.

              That’s just my point of view. Of course you’re entitled to yours. Even the strongest dictatorship can’t take that away from you.
              Sorry for the poor english. I’m tired.
              Have a good life, mate.

              • You aren’t listening, PEOPLE WHO GIVE AWAY NO INFO STILL GET CAUGHT.

                No logs VPN doesn’t exist unless you host it yourself, meaning you are target #1. I don’t trust Tor at all. It’s a prison sentence waiting to happen. The argument about purity is also bullshit, look how many people died from heroin spiked with fent. I have no doubts the LEA use these sites.

    • DDWlurker

      This is why you always use YOUR OWN PGP KEY to encrypt ADDRESS.
      Vendors sometimes say it in their listings and people STILL leave address unencrypted, use market encryption [if that key gets taken by LE kiss your anonymity bye by], or even more retarded some people copy vendor’s public PGP key and just type their address within that key [this is ignorgance of how it works].

      • Eric Trump

        How will the vendor decrypt your address if you use your own key not their public key?

      • How will the vendor decrypt your address if you use your own key and not their public one?

        • COsty

          The blind leading the blind ^^

        • Anon

          Takes at least 2 keys to encrypt, a private and a public. Some markets offer auto encryption of messages to vendors which uses the vendors public key and the market’s private key. If the market gets seized, private key is compromised.

          Instead you should be using your own private key (not the market’s) to encrypt the message yourself and then copy/paste the encrypted text into your message to the vendor.

  2. fat Aussie bastard

    that “openbazaar” only seems to work on Windows 10 and we all know what a PoS that is….

  3. one person. That will teach them.

  4. Fakest news. So SAD and a lame attempt at a cheap preventative measure by the authorities fighting a losing battle.

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