Finance

Dark Web drug marketplace AlphaBay was shut down by law enforcement

Dark Web drug marketplace AlphaBay was shut down by law enforcement

AlphaBay, a dark web marketplace for wares in the "not exactly legal" category, went offline in early July, and many users assumed the admins decided to make away with their money.

AlphaBay Market, a prominent dark web marketplace that facilitates the sale of drugs and other illegal items, went down yesterday and users are panicking, afraid the moderators have shut down the site for good and run off with the loot.

Cazes had been detained since July 5 after he was arrested at a residence in Thawee Watthana district by officers acting on an extradition request from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Narcotics squad chief Sommai Kongwisaisuk said Cazes was being held at the department's detention centre awaiting deportation when he was found dead.

Cazes had lived well during eight years in Thailand on the lam from drug trafficking charges in the United States. Police seized three houses and four Lamborghini cars, all valued at around 400 million baht ($11.8 million).

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The site's closing came after coordinated action by the US, Canada and Thailand, reported the Wall Street Journal.

The operation led to the arrest of Alexandre Cazes, a Canadian citizen who was allegedly one of the site's main operators, on July 5 in Thailand. It opened in 2014 in the wake of the 2013 closure of Silk Road, a similar cryptomarket. The site remained essentially inaccessible for days after the fact, prompting some users to speculate about an exit scheme.

AlphaBay was largely considered the largest and most lucrative underground marketplace on the Dark Web, a colloquial shorthand term for the network of sites accessible only through the anonymity-preserving web browser Tor. In the first six months of 2017, it reportedly sold $6.5 million worth of stolen credit card numbers alone. The Montreal Gazette reports that the raids "were part of a larger, worldwide investigation involving the FBI and other agencies" into the sale of merchandise on the darknet. "It is also unclear as to what Cazes may have told the authorities in regards to AlphaBay, its users, or other people working on the platform". Police believe the marketplace's total daily sales were between $600,000 - $800,000 at its height.

While Silk Road made its name selling drugs, AlphaBay was prolific in its black market products. According to a new report, AlphaBay has suffered the same fate and worldwide authorities have shut it down.