Washington, D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691
September 22, 2020

FBI Director Christopher Wray’s Remarks at Press Conference on Operation DisrupTor

FBI Director Christopher Wray delivered the following remarks during a press conference in Washington, D.C. with Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and other officials announcing the results of an international law enforcement operation targeting opioid traffickers on the darknet. (Remarks as delivered)

Good morning.

Operation DisrupTor was coordinated by the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement team, also known as JCODE.

JCODE began in 2018 as an FBI-led, multi-agency initiative to target criminal activity on the darknet—especially the trafficking of fentanyl and other opioids.

Operation DisrupTor builds off the success of previous JCODE operations, namely Operation Disarray in 2018 and Operation SaboTor in 2019.

Today's announcement, Operation DisrupTor arose out of another major darknet market takedown last year. In April 2019, an international law enforcement operation resulted in the seizure of Wall Street Market, which was, at the time, one of the largest criminal darknet marketplaces. And using information gleaned from the Wall Street Market takedown, the United States worked with partners in international law enforcement to target scores of major criminals reliant on the darknet. 

Operation DisrupTor is the culmination of that work, illustrating the impact of a coordinated government effort on both a domestic and global scale.

Operation DisrupTor involved the contributions of a host of federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DEA, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, IRS Criminal Investigation, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, as well as our key partners in state and local law enforcement.

The law enforcement personnel assigned to JCODE specialize in threats where traditional criminal activity intersects with sophisticated technological platforms.

Every day, they’re working to show these criminals that they can no longer count on hiding on the darknet—because we’re going to infiltrate their networks, shut down their online, illicit marketplaces, and bring them to justice, no matter what it takes.

Operation DisrupTor took place at a particularly critical time, as our country has seen a sharp rise in overdoses associated with potent narcotics during this pandemic.

In just one case alone, the work of the JCODE task force led to the seizure of over 11 kilograms of suspected fentanyl associated with a dangerous drug trafficking organization operating in a small town in Ohio.

Now, let me just put that in perspective: Just two milligrams of pure fentanyl is considered a lethal dose.

So that means that one 11-kilogram seizure equates to about 5.5 million lethal doses of fentanyl being taken off the streets of American communities, where the impacts could have been devastating.

Operations like DisrupTor illustrate how JCODE is making a real difference in our cities and towns across the country and around the world.

I look forward to seeing more and more of these kinds of coordinated operations, because the way that we’re going to stop the scourge of drug trafficking and opioid addiction is to work together at all levels of government, in law enforcement, in the Intelligence Community, and across the globe.

The darknet doesn’t reside within any single nation’s jurisdiction.

So we all have to look beyond our borders and boundaries to tackle the problem of criminal enterprises using that platform to peddle their drugs.

I also want to thank all the JCODE partner agencies and everyone who participated in Operation DisrupTor, both domestically and internationally, for continuing to support the great work JCODE is doing to combat this crisis—a crisis that endures around the world.

We’re tremendously proud of JCODE’s strong and growing relationship with Europol and our Five Eyes partners to disrupt the trade of illicit drugs.

The team’s success lies in the abundance of resources and expertise shared across agencies, and in its ability to harness the investigative power of both our federal and international partners to go after these criminals wherever they are.

And I understand all too well the challenges our investigative team has faced over the last several months because of the COVID pandemic, and I appreciate the tenacity that I have seen from the JCODE team in finding new and unique ways to carry out its mission.

At the FBI, keeping the American public safe is our top priority—and this team is working tirelessly to do just that.

Their devotion to combating this threat has already produced remarkable results—and speaking on behalf of the 37,000 men and women of the FBI, I am proud to stand together with our JCODE partners to meet this threat head-on.

Thank you.