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AlphaBay Market Shut Down: Site Goes Offline After Raids, Founder Kills Himself

AlphaBay Market Shut Down: Site Goes Offline After Raids, Founder Kills Himself”

Cazes was recently detained in connection with an worldwide probe involving AlphaBay, an underground website where vendors sold illegal goods ranging from hardcore drugs to stolen credit card numbers, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing individuals familiar with the matter. On Wednesday, Cazes was found dead, hanged in his Thai jail cell.

Authorities arrested Cazes within hours of seizing AlphaBay on July 4 and abruptly shuttering the website, ending its reign as one of the dark web's most successful underground marketplaces.

Melissa Sweeney, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, stated Cazes was taken into custody by Thai authorities "with a view toward extradition to face federal criminal charges in the United States".

Camille Habel, a sergeant with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's high-technology crime unit, confirmed to the Journal that the unit executed a search warrant in Trois-Rivières, Quebec on the same day that Cazes was arrested in Thailand.

The Bangkok Post reported that Cazes had been resident in Thailand for about eight years and had a Thai wife. The Criminal Court in Thailand issued a warrant for the suspect's arrest on June 30 at the request of US law enforcement authorities. Authorities believe the suspect used the towel to hang himself.

AlphaBay emerged in 2014, following the death of Silk Road.

The towel was among his personal belongings and he was believed to have used it to hang himself
The towel was among his personal belongings and he was believed to have used it to hang himself

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the site's shutdown was far from voluntary, as the online marketplace went down following a combined operation by law enforcement in the US, Canada and Thailand. In the first six months of 2017, it reportedly sold $6.5 million worth of stolen credit card numbers alone.

The establishment of AlphaBay followed the seizure and closure of former underground dark web market Silk Road, something that itself was taken down in late 2013.

Total sales on the site averaged between $600,000 and $800,000 a day, earning AlphaBay's operators millions of dollars each year in commissions, according to Nicolas Christin, an associate research professor at Carnegie Mellon University who studies online marketplaces.

While Silk Road made its name selling drugs, AlphaBay was prolific in its black market products. Likewise, the Evolution marketplace disappeared in 2015 and site owners took with them about $12 million worth of user money.

It is unclear if Cazes was an AlphaBay staff member or a vendor on the site.



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