On July 5, CCN.com reported that popular darknet market AlphaBay had been down for several hours and that a suspicious transaction led users to believe the admins pulled an exit scam. Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, it’s known that the marketplace was taken down by law enforcement raids in three different countries across the globe.
AlphaBay was founded back in December 2014, and got a large user influx after Silk Road was taken down. According to Nicolas Christin, a professor of computer science and public policy at Carnegie Mellon, the marketplace’s total daily revenue averaged $600,000 to $800,000, making it the largest dark web marketplace to date.
According to reports, raids took place in the United States, in Canada, and in Thailand on July 5, with a Canadian news outlet being the first to report them. It confired that two raids took place in Trois-Rivières and a third one in Montreal. Even though no arrests were made, equipment was seized.
It’s still unknown how many raids took place in the United States, but in Thailand a 26-year-old Canadian national named Alexander Cazes was arrested at a private residence in Bangkok. Cazes was wanted by U.S. authorities for drug trafficking charges and, according to the Bangkok Post, a warrant for his arrest was issued on June 30, per request of U.S. authorities. According to DeepDotWeb , he was believed to be AlphaBay admin DeSnake. His alleged LinkedIn profile is still online, although his company’s website went down along with the darkweb bazaar.
Cazes was going to be sent to the U.S. so he could face charges there but as the publication puts it, a duty officer noticed a towel hanging from the toilet door in his cell, but couldn’t see him. After entering the cell, the officer found Cazes dead, and it is now believed he used the towel to hang himself.
The Canadian national was living in Thailand with his wife for eight years, reportedly working as a computer programmer. Police seized three houses and four Lamborghini cars, worth about 400 million baht (approximately $12 million).
AlphaBay being taken down took a toll on the darknet market scene, and now both buyers and sellers are looking for new marketplaces to do business. Most available alternatives are, however, unable to handle the huge number of users AlphaBay had. According to DeepDotWeb, the top three alternatives are Russian market Ramp, Dream Market, and Hansa Market.
The preferred alternative, at first, was Hansa market, but the bazaar stopped new users from registering as the influx of “refugee-vendors” started creating technical difficulties.
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