AlphaBay operator Alexandre Cazes was found dead in his cell

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On July 5, was the presumed alphabay operators, the Canadian Alexander Cazes, arrested in Thailand. Cazes was found dead in his cell this week, according to Thai police he committed suicide.

In shutting down two of the three largest criminal marketplaces on the Dark Web, a major element of the infrastructure of the underground criminal economy has been taken offline. It has severely disrupted criminal enterprises around the world, has led to the arrest of key figures involved in online criminal activity, and yielded huge amounts of intelligence that will lead to further investigations. But what made this operation really special was the strategy developed by the FBI, DEA, the Dutch Police and Europol to magnify the disruptive impact of the joint action to take out AlphaBay and Hansa. This involved taking covert control of Hansa under Dutch judicial authority a month ago, which allowed Dutch police to monitor the activity of users without their knowledge, and then shutting down AlphaBay during the same period. It meant the Dutch police could identify and disrupt the regular criminal activity on Hansa but then also sweep up all those new users displaced from AlphaBay who were looking for a new trading platform. In fact they flocked to Hansa in their droves, with an eight-fold increase in the number of new members of Hansa recorded immediately following the shutdown of AlphaBay. As a law enforcement strategy, leveraging the combined operational and technical strengths of multiple agencies in the US and Europe, it has been an extraordinary success and a stark illustration of the collective power the global law enforcement community can bring to disrupt major criminal activity.

AlphaBay was shut down three weeks ago. At the time, the US Department of Justice reported about a quarter million offers and demands for illegal drugs and about 100,000 offers for weapons, counterfeit documents and goods and computer malfunctions. The portal is considered ten times bigger than the well-known portal Silk Road in 2013.

On July 5, was the presumed alphabay operators, the Canadian Alexander Cazes, arrested in Thailand. Cazes was found dead in his cell this week, according to Thai police he committed suicide.

Large portions of the assets that Cazes and his wife had accumulated in four countries, including money, luxury cars and houses, as well as a hotel in Thailand, were confiscated.

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