The Italian police force has shut down operations of Babylon, a dark web site that offered users illegal products ranging from child porn to forged luncheon coupons.
According to authorities, they seized an estimated 11,000 bitcoin accounts with a net worth of 1 million Euros.
The takedown was done in a similar fashion to that of Silk Road, where perpetrators have already been brought to book.
Babylon had more than 14,000 active users and was allegedly run by a native Italian man living around Naples.
Cops seized evidence of 170,000 online transaction messages on this Tor platform, which they say had 12 different types of hidden services.
Ranging from pornographic content to firearms, drugs, forged identity papers, credit card codes and hacker kits.
Moreover, the Babylon site played host to approximately 210 drug peddlers, including a notorious narcotics merchant who went by the pen name “Pablo Escobar” after the deceased Colombian drug lord.
Michele Prestipino, a public prosecutor in-charge of coordinating investigations, told a full press conference in Rome that the virtual world of Babylon had its own hierarchies and tight rules on user access and affiliation.
This made infiltration difficult but with hard work, intelligence gathering and patience they finally managed to do it.
Since Babylon didn’t show up on any standard search engines, and administrators provided users with detailed instructions on how to screen their online identities from outsiders, it took police a maximum of 2 yrs. to bring the site down.
Something that could have otherwise taken a much shorter period was it not for these Babylon safety measures.
It’s also emerging that Italian investigators had been collaborating with Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency in identifying customers and sellers who operated on Italian-based platforms.
Officials say the Babylon inquiry ushered in a new experience for Italian cops, revealing to them an underground world of criminals that most people were unaware of.
The feds have promised to continue searching for other sites similar to Babylon for total closure.
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