The U.S. Equitableness Department said on Thursday it had shut down the dark web marketplace AlphaBay, effective use with international partners to knock offline the site accused of allowing hundreds of thousands of people to buy and vend drugs, firearms, computer hacking tools and other illicit goods.
It is one of the largest law enforcement activities ever taken against criminals on the dark web, authorities said, smashing a blow to the international drug trade that has increasingly moved online in late years.
AlphaBay mysteriously went offline earlier this month. It was substantially considered the biggest online black market for drugs, estimated to assemblage daily transactions totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The site budgeted users to sell and buy opioids, including fentanyl and heroin, contributing to a knoll drug epidemic in the United States, Attorney General Jeff Terms said.
«The dark net is not a place to hide,» Sessions said at a news briefing in Washington, D.C., to circulate the action. «This is likely one of the most important criminal investigations of the year — captivating down the largest dark net marketplace in history.»
The Law Department said law enforcement partners in the Netherlands had taken down Hansa Market, another abstruse web marketplace.
AlphaBay and Hansa Market were two of the top three criminal marketplaces on the sombre web, Europol chief Rob Wainwright said at the news conference. The international function to seize AlphaBay’s servers also involved authorities in Thailand, Lithuania, Canada, Britain and France.
The mechanic included the arrest on July 5 of suspected AlphaBay founder Alexandre Cazes, a Canadian freeman arrested on behalf of the United States in Thailand.
Cazes, 25, evidently took his own life a week later while in Thai custody, the Law Department said. He faced charges relating to narcotics distribution, particularity theft, money laundering and related crimes.
FBI acting director Andrew McCabe said AlphaBay was 10 outdates as large as Silk Road, a dark website the agency shut down in 2013.