The French Minister of Public Action has announced the dismantling of the “Black Hand” forum, a marketplace on the French dark web selling drugs, weapons, stolen credit cards and other illicit goods and services.
On June 12, the National Directorate of Intelligence and Customs Investigations (DNRED) reportedly started raiding key locations in the country where authorities believed they might find the forum’s operators.
Authorities arrested the site’s administrator and several others also seemingly tied to the illegal marketplace. Investigators seized the actual server on which the forum was hosted as well as additional computer equipment, fake identification documents, 4,000 euros in cash and another 25,000 euros in digital currency (i.e. Bitcoin).
After gaining access to the forum’s contents, investigators confirmed that more than 3,000 registered users were selling or buying illegal products and services, including weapons, narcotics, false papers and stolen banking data, through the service.
After 48 hours of custody, the suspects were brought before the magistrates of the Interregional Specialized Court of Lille, where they were charged as follows:
“Criminal conspiracy for the preparation of crime (putting into circulation counterfeit or falsified currency legal tender in France), offenses punishable by 10 years imprisonment (drug trafficking) and offenses punishable by five years’ imprisonment (false administrative documents, scams).”
According to the press release issued by the Ministry of Public Action on Saturday, “this is the end of one of the most important illegal market places for the French dark web.”