hree suspects were arrested this week in Montpellier and the Pyrénées-Orientales by police officers of the SRPJ of Montpellier, as part of the operation “Green Hart”, a large European net launched against the trafficking of fake euros on the darkneet.
Led by Europol, this coordinated operation allowed the arrest of 235 suspects in 13 European countries where more than 300 searches were carried out: 180 searches were carried out in Germany, 28 in France, 20 in Italy, as much in Austria, and others in Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands.
150 tickets seized by the Montpellier SRPJ
A total of 1,500 fake banknotes of € 10, € 20 or € 50 were seized, including around 150 € 10 and € 20 notes during the three arrests made by the Montpellier SRPJ in Montpellier and the Pyrénées-Orientales.
The three suspects, who were placed in police custody, have different profiles: an experienced criminal, known for robberies in the 1990s, and two younger Hérault offenders, known for drug trafficking.
The investigation began in June 2018 in Austria, when the federal criminal police dismantled a clandestine printing press in Leoben. The data then seized by the investigators established that more than 10,000 counterfeit notes had been resold via a specialized site on the darkneb, this Internet accessible via specialized search engines, where the sites and the illegal activities prosper.
“Anonymity on the darknet does not exist”
The decision was then taken to carry out a coordinated action of the European police to stop those who thus bought these counterfeit notes.
“Complete anonymity on the darknet does not exist,” insisted Wil Van Gemert, a Europol official. “When you get into illegal activities online, expect to see the police knocking on your door.”
“France is one of the most affected countries in Europe by counterfeit money, which is increasing in recent years,” said a source close to the survey at Midi Libre.
Counterfeit € 10 bills were bought between 1.5 and 3 euros each, depending on the quantity ordered.