Feds Take Down Dark Web Drug Lord

President Trump speaks about the Senate healthcare bill at the the White House on Tuesday

Two of the largest "dark web" marketplaces for illegal items including guns and drugs have been shut down by the United States government, the country's Justice Department has said.

According to investigators, an AlphaBay staffer once claimed the site hosted more than 40,000 vendors, selling to more than 200,000 customers.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions officially confirmed today a coordinated global law enforcement effort to take down AlphaBay after news of raids and arrests in the US, Canada, and Thailand leaked to the press last week.

Sessions said the DOJ had seized the infrastructure and arrested the criminal market's owner, ending speculation about why AlphaBay had recently disappeared.

Law enforcement officials have struggled for years to crack down on these marketplaces, which are hard to locate because their software is distributed across the Tor network, which anonymises users and makes them nearly impossible to track.

In a similar announcement, Europol announced that Dutch police together with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had also managed to take down the Hansa Market.

AlphaBay and Hansa, two of the Dark web's largest markets, were taken down as part of a joint effort involving multiple law enforcement agencies.




The first shutdown sent shockwaves through the darknet community, with many users fleeing to the rival Hansa Market. Transactions were made in bitcoin and other crypto currencies.

"The Dutch National Police have located Hansa Market and taken over control of this marketplace since June 20, 2017", the message says. You can not hide. We will find you, dismantle your organization and network. They then sat back and captured the identities of "all those new users displaced from AlphaBay who were looking for a new trading platform", Europe says.

AlphaBay's alleged founder, Alexandre Cazes, was arrested on drug and money laundering charges earlier this month in Thailand, where he was later found dead in Thai custody.

AlphaBay, which has been offline since the start of July, is understood to have had a marketplace of more than 21,000 opioid listings and 4,100 fentanyl listings.

Rob Wainwright, the Executive Director of Europol, described the takedown as a "serious hit" to drug traffickers and "other serious criminals around the world", in a statement.

In a press conference in Washington, US attorney-general Jeff Sessions spoke about the "new challenge" that law enforcement faces from "transnational criminal organisations who think they can commit their crimes with impunity using the dark net". "For more information about this operation, please consult our hidden service at http://politiepcvh42eav.onion", Dutch authorities wrote on the seized Hansa website.

Two of the drug traffickers on the website have also been identified and charged after heroin and a synthetic opiate purchased on AlphaBay were linked to overdose deaths in OR and Florida.

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