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Serbian pleads guilty to running ‘Monopoly’ dark web drug market

The Serbian citizen Milomir Desnica (33) has pleaded guilty to running the dark web Monopoly drug marketplace.

Milomir Desnica, a 33-year-old Serbian citizen, admited to being responsible for operating the illicit Monopoly drug marketplace on the dark web.

The man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia to charges of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Desnica launched the dark web market in 2019, Monopoly rapidly became one the biggest marketplace for the sale of illicit narcotics, including opioids, stimulants, psychedelics, and prescription medications. Desnica was personally involved in the review and approval of the sale of narcotics through his marketplace

The investigation conducted by the FBI revealed that Monopoly facilitated over $18 million in narcotics sales worldwide, including the sale of over 30 kilograms of methamphetamine to US customers.

“Milomir Desnica, 33, a national of Serbia and Croatia, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia to charges of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and FBI Special Agent in Charge Wayne A. Jacobs, of the Washington Field Office’s Criminal and Cyber Division. U.S. District Court Judge Carl J. Nichols scheduled sentencing for February 15, 2024.” reads the press release published by DoJ.

In December 2021, German and Finnish law enforcement seized the marketplace’s infrastructure.

The analysis of the seized server allowed the identification of several actors using the Monopoly Market.

In May, Europol announced the results of the international law enforcement operation codenamed ‘SpecTor’ that resulted with the seizure of the dark web marketplace. The law enforcement agencies from nine countries (Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Switzerland) arrested 288 individuals suspected to be involved in buying or selling drugs on the dark web.

Monopoly operation SpecTor

The law enforcement seized more than EUR 50.8 million (USD 53.4 million) in cash and virtual currencies, 850 kg of drugs, and 117 firearms were seized. According to the press release published by the Europol, the seized drugs include over 258 kg of amphetamines, 43 kg of cocaine, 43 kg of MDMA, and over 10 kg of LSD and ecstasy pills.

In November 2022, an operation conducted by the Austrian Fugitive Active Search Team (FAST) and the Public Prosecutors Office Vienna, led to the arrest of Desnica in Austria. In June, the man was extradited to the U.S. to face drug trafficking charges. The police conducted a search of his residence and vehicle, seizing electronics and cash.

According to the investigators, between at least April 2020 and July 2022, the man used at least two cryptocurrency exchange services to launder his illicit proceeds.

Desnica’s sentence is scheduled for February 2024, the Serbian citizen could face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment along with financial penalties.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Monopoly)

The post Serbian pleads guilty to running ‘Monopoly’ dark web drug market appeared first on Security Affairs.

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