AlphaBay, one of the world’s largest Dark Web black market for sale of drugs, hacking tools, malware, stolen data, weapons, and other illegal goods has been shut down by the international authorities.
For those unfamiliar, AlphaBay came to existence in 2014 after the exit of Silk Road, another marketplace where drugs, pornography and firearms were bought and sold. Silk Road was shut down after the law enforcement raided its servers in October 2013 and arrested its founder, Ross Ulbricht, who is currently in prison.
The AlphaBay market had mysteriously gone dark last week on Tuesday, July 4th, without any explanation from its admins, thereby leaving many of its online drug vendors and buyers in panic who had paid large sums. Some customers even speculated it to be possibly the largest “exit scam” in history prompting fears that millions of dollars could have been taken from its customers.
However, the Wall Street Journal cleared the air on the black marketplace’s disappearance act as a shutdown done by the authorities in the United States, Canada, and Thailand who conducted several raids and arrested Alexandre Cazes, who allegedly was one of the AlphaBay’s operators.
“An online marketplace that sold illegal goods on the so-called Dark Web was shut last week following action by international authorities, according to people familiar with the matter.” states the WSJ.
The publication cited “people familiar with the matter” and claimed that Cazes, a 26-year-old Canadian citizen, was arrested in Thailand. During the arrest, the police seized “four Lamborghini cars and three houses worth about 400 million baht ($11.7 million) in total.”
He was taken into custody in Bangkok on July 5th, the same day the police executed two raids on residences in Quebec, Canada. Cazes was awaiting extradition to the US when a guard found him hanging in his jail cell on Wednesday. He is believed to have hanged himself using a towel, according to the Chiang Rai Times.
“Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) Pol Maj Gen Sunthon Chalermkiat told Thai media yesterday that an initial examination of the body of Canadian Alexander Cazes, points to suicide,” reports the Chiangraitimes.
“A duty officer noticed a towel hanging from the toilet door in his cell about 7am, but could not see him, police said. The officer unlocked and entered the cell and found Cazes dead in the toilet.”
Cazes had worked as a computer programmer and had a Thai wife. Cazes was residing in Thailand for nearly 8 years on the lam from drug trafficking charges in the United States. At the request of US authorities, the Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant on June 30. Cazes was arrested at the Private House estate on Buddha Monthon Sai 3 Road in Thawi Watthana district.
While the case still remains unresolved, it also remains unclear if anyone else has access to the necessary resources so that AlphaBay can be relaunched in the future.
“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.” continues the Chiangrai Times.
“On Reddit, there is some wild speculation as to whether or not these claims are true. It is hard to determine if Cazes is the real AlphaBay admin, but all of the information seems to hint at that outcome. His arrest coincides with the platform going down, and it would also explain why AlphaBay has not resurfaced. On the platform, the admin is known as “deSnakes”, which very well could indeed by Cazes.”
If Cazes was indeed the AlphaBay administrator, then this once popular marketplace may not rise from the dead ever again.
Source: Security affairs