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Housewife unmasked as French ‘dark web’ boss

PARIS, June 19, (AFP): A 28-year-old housewife with no criminal record has been unmasked as the woman behind a major French “dark web” site which sold drugs and guns until it was shut down last week. The woman was among four people arrested last Tuesday when intelligence agents closed the Black Hand website, where fake ID documents and stolen bank data had also changed hands for more than two years.

Agents from the DNRED intelligence agency seized nearly 4,000 euros in cash and around 25,000 euros ($29,000) in online currencies while swooping on the suspects in four simultaneous raids around France. The mother of two, who went by various online pseudonyms including “Anouchka” and “Hades”, did not create the site but worked as its administrator, a DNRED agent told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“A woman active at that level, it’s pretty unusual,” the agent said, adding that Anouchka, who did not have a job, was arrested near the northern city of Lille. Although she did not have what he termed the “geeky profile of an IT technician”, this was not her first experience on the dark net, he added. Around 40 DNRED agents were involved in the year-long operation, “the first of its kind in France”, according to public accounts minister Gerald Darmanin.

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