DOJ Launches New Darknet Enforcement Team

Posted On Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What Happened?

Yesterday Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of the Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team, another new tool to fight against the opioid crisis.

The Rundown

The J-CODE team, which includes dozens of Special Agents, Intelligence Analysts, and professional staff, will focus on disrupting illicit online sales of opioids.  The team more than doubles the FBI’s investment in thwarting online opioid sales.

The team will build on DOJ’s already significant efforts against opioid sales on the darknet.  In July 2017 for example, DOJ announced its shutdown of AlphaBay, the largest darknet marketplace in history.  AlphaBay operated for over two years and was used to sell illegal drugs, fraudulent identification documents, counterfeit goods, malware and computer hacking tools, firearms, and toxic chemicals all over the world.  At the time of the takedown AlphaBay serviced over 200,000 users and 40,000 vendors, and had over 250,000 listings for illegal drugs and toxic chemicals.

J-CODE is just one of multiple initiatives DOJ has announced recently to combat the opioid epidemic, including the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit, a data analytics program focusing specifically on investigating health care fraud related to opioid prescriptions and abuse, and the assignment of a designated opioid coordinator in each of the 94 U.S. Attorney offices.

For the Record

In a press release yesterday, Attorney General Sessions remarked that “criminals think that they are safe on the dark net, but they are in for a rude awakening.”

If you become involved in an investigation as a result of this increased activity by the Department of Justice, please do not hesitate to contact our of Our Attorneys today.