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Police swoop on black market site 'Utopia'

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Weapons were allegedly being sold on the website. Photo: DPA
15:01 CET+01:00
German police have shut down an online black market site, similar to the Silk Road website, where criminals could buy drugs, weapons and credit card details. A contract killer was also rumoured to have offered their services on the site.

The Federal Office for Criminal Investigation (BKA) said in a statement on Thursday they arrested a 21-year-old man believed to be behind the website called ‘Utopia’ and seized servers on Tuesday in central Germany.

In the Netherlands, where the site which only stayed open for one week was based, police arrested another three people.

A European arrest warrant had been issued by Dutch police for the man.

Users accessed the site using a platform called Tor which provides anonymity, while purchases were made using Bitcoin.

The man was arrested in Bad Nauheim, Hesse, on suspicion of computer fraud, being a member of a criminal network and breaking drug laws.

Police suspect the men were also involved in Utopia’s predecessor called Black Market Reloaded which was shut in December.

“A server which was operated by a German-based company was removed from the network and thus the illegal sales platform Utopia was closed,” police said in a statement.

“Both in the Netherlands and Germany a large amount of evidence was seized.”

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Officers also found 1,000 Bitcoins worth €500,000.

A site similar to Utopia in the US called Silkroad was closed by the FBI in October.

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“Another important sales platform for illegal goods has been shut down,” German police added. 

Dutch police have requested that the 21-year-old be extradited to the Netherlands to stand trial.

READ MORE: German government hit by mass email theft

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