After a seizure notice showed up on Wall Street Market’s homepage Thursday, authorities are now officially confirming that they’ve seized the market. They have also taken over the servers of Valhalla, another popular darknet market.
Following initial speculation as to the status of Wall Street Market, the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Attorney General Frankfurt am Main have now officially announced three arrests related to the site.
It was also revealed that Valhalla (also known as Silkkitie) has been taken down.
According to the statement, a 31-year-old suspect from Bad Vilbel, a 22-year-old suspect from Kleve, and a 29-year-old suspect from the district of Esslingen were all arrested on April 23 and 24. Law enforcement officers also searched their homes.
The German citizens are believed to have operated with Wall Street, the top darknet marketplace second to Dream Market (which voluntarily closed last month). The BKA’s officers secured the platform’s infrastructure.
— Bundeskriminalamt (@bka) May 3, 2019
The three arrests came as a result of a series of investigations that involved various law enforcement agencies from the Netherlands and the U.S., together with Europol and the European police force.
The investigations have been mostly directed against the German nationals since March 2019.
Back then, they were identified as suspects. Allegedly, these three men were in charge of the platform, which they switched into maintenance mode on April 23, 2019.
After doing so, the suspects began transferring funds from the marketplace’s clients to themselves.
This pattern, known as an exit scam, is a common occurrence on the dark web.
While searching the homes of the alleged persons in charge of the dark web marketplace, the police found over €550,000 in cash, Bitcoin and Monero funds in six-digit amounts, computers and data carriers, as well as multiple high-end motor vehicles. Inside the home of the Kleve suspect, a firearm was also found.
The Gießen district court’s detention judge ordered detained pending trial of the suspects at the request of the Attorney General Frankfurt am Main.
During the investigation that led to the arrests of the three German citizens, in the United States, two of Wall Street Market’s highest volume suppliers were identified and arrested.
When the investigators searched their homes, they found millions of dollars in cash and a variety of unlawful weapons and drugs.
In Friday’s announcement, Europol also said Finnish Customs seized the servers of Valhalla/Silkkitie and made a significant Bitcoin seizure in their investigation.
Valhalla has been operating since 2013.
For some time, users have assumed the market is compromised or exit scammed, due to persistent issues with its payment system.
Many of them moved on to Wall Street.