Darknet News

Monopoly Admin Extradited to the US

In a surprising twist to the Monopoly darknet market saga, the US Dept. of Justice announced yesterday that the former market’s admin had been arrested in Nov. 2022 and had just been extradited to the United States where he will face charges related to money laundering and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Milomir Desnica, 33, of Serbia, was arrested last year in Austria at the behest of US investigators who had identified him as Monopoly’s administrator after “extensive analysis” of data obtained in the seizure of the market’s servers, in late 2021. Investigators also found that Desnica had used “at least” two cryptocurrency exchanges to launder market commission proceeds, along with conducting peer-to-peer trades of crypto for cash with traders in Serbia.

Screenshot from the current monopoly webpage

Founded in late 2019, Monopoly was a “wallet-less,” drugs-only market that was infamous for the rudeness of its admin and customer support staff. It was also known for being extremely selective in choosing which vendors were allowed to sell items on its platform. Before being approved, vendors were required to submit descriptions of all products they wanted to sell on the market, along with “photographic proof” of inventory. Despite operating for over two years, the market never came close to the size of its more popular contemporaries.

In December 2021, Monopoly suddenly went offline without prior warning, leading many users and other darknet market community members to assume an exit scam had taken place. This conclusion persisted even after the market’s admin, MonopolyOfficial, took to the Dread forum to assure users the downtime was only temporary. One moth later, however, it became apparent that Monopoly wasn’t returning as it was reported that its servers had been seized by their host, which was located in Germany.

It wasn’t until May 2023, however, until the truth about what happened to Monopoly finally surfaced: the market’s servers had actually been seized by German law enforcement prior to its shutdown, who had been thoroughly analyzing the site and collecting as much data about its users as they could before sending it in “intelligence packages” to partners in the US, EU and Brazil. Data scraped from the market ultimately yielded 288 arrests in Operation SpecTor, which was the biggest international law enforcement operation against darknet market vendors to date. The operation also saw the net confiscation of almost one ton of drugs, $53 million in cash and crypto, and 117 firearms.

If convicted, Desnica faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for the methamphetamine distribution conspiracy charge and a maximum 20-year sentence for the money laundering charge.

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