As part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) national efforts to combat the fentanyl crisis, the Illicit Finance and Proceeds of Crime Unit (IFPCU) and the Cyber Crimes Center (C3) recently partnered together to offer advanced training focused on exploiting and dismantling darknet marketplaces and illicit payment networks associated with fentanyl smuggling and their distribution organizations.

The IFPCU and C3 provided dark web and cryptocurrency training to over 400 state and local law enforcement personnel located in Michigan and Ohio over the course of one week.

Attendees learned about the complexities and investigative challenges associated with these technologies, in addition to the potential for successful outcomes to criminal investigations. The instructors demonstrated how the current and popular anonymity of cryptocurrency tools work by providing thorough step-by-step demonstrations.

Part of the Midwest training tour also included the attendance of IFPCU members at a roundtable discussion addressing the significant impact of fentanyl on the “Rust Belt” geographic region. Key participants also included U.S. Senator Robert J. Portman (OH), ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan, HSI Acting Executive Associate Director Derek N. Benner, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and numerous other local law enforcement representatives.

In total, HSI has trained 1,300 law enforcement on dark web and cryptocurrency in response to the fentanyl crisis.