"Until its closure, DarkMarket was probably the largest marketplace worldwide on the darknet, with nearly 500,000 users and more than 2400 sellers", prosecutors said. It came as more than 20 servers the site used in Moldova and Ukraine were seized.
German investigators have detained the alleged operator of DarkMarket, said to be the largest illegal online marketplace in the world, prosecutors in the city of Koblenz say.
"Investigators were able to shut down the marketplace and turn off the server on Monday", they added, calling it the culmination of a months-long global law enforcement operation.
They are popular with criminals, as buyers and sellers are largely untraceable.More news: U.S. shifts to speed vaccinations; won't hold back 2nd doses
The prime suspect was brought before a judge but declined to speak.
German law enforcement has shut down an internet market where users bought and sold narcotics, stolen data and hacking tools, authorities said Tuesday.
Europol, Europe´s police agency, played a "coordinating role".
The DarkMarket was the second platform operating under that name, since the original site was shut down in 2008 by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. Eight defendants - four Dutchmen, three Germans and one Bulgarian - stood trial beginning in October for allegedly aiding and abetting 249,000 transactions involving drugs, money laundering, stolen information and pornographic images of children.More news: Renault F1 boss Abiteboul to leave team ahead of Alpine shake-up
They have faced increased pressure from worldwide law enforcement in recent months. The sellers used Bitcoin and other privacy coins to transfer funds obtained by the trading of drugs.
Oldenburg police said the raid took place over the weekend.
DarkMarket was only viewable on the so-called "dark web", meaning that users needed to use the TOR encrypted web browser to access it.More news: NationNews Barbados: Mandatory negative COVID test to enter Britain