Cops harpoon two dark net whales in megabust: AlphaBay and Hansa

President Trump speaks about the Senate healthcare bill at the the White House on Tuesday

The take-down of the two largest criminal dark web markets in the world by European and American law enforcement authorities shows the important and necessary result of worldwide cooperation to fight this criminality.

Alphabay was launched in 2014, and operated as an online marketplace for drugs, data, computer programs, stolen passwords or user accounts, and other physical or digital goods. It had 200,000 users and 40,000 sellers with about 369,000 listings for drugs, guns, fake IDs, malware and other illegal goods when it was shut down this month, according to the government. Now it has been confirmed by Europol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in the United States and the Netherlands police that Hansa has also been deactivated.

They also seized from Cazes and his wife millions of dollars in currency, luxury cars, and homes in four countries, including a hotel he owned in Thailand.

He reportedly committed suicide while in custody, according to the Department of Justice.

Hansa was seized and covertly monitored for a month before being deactivated.

The Justice Department announced Thursday that together with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and global law enforcement agencies, officials had shut down "the largest darknet marketplace in history".

The FBI then shut down AlphaBay and over the following weeks there was a huge migration of users from AlphaBay to Hansa, all of which was tracked by the European part of the team. "We will continue to find, arrest, prosecute, convict and incarcerate criminals, drug traffickers and their enablers, wherever they are".

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"Around the time of the takedown of the site, there were more than 250,000 listings for illegal drugs and toxic chemicals on AlphaBay", Jeff Sessions, US Attorney General, said about the AlphaBay network.

The take down of AlphaBay and Hamsa represents the most serious strike at so-called dark web markets since the shutdown of Silk Road, the pioneering illegal online market busted by American authorities in 2013.

Both Sessions and U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein ducked those questions, instead focusing on the bust.

Dark net sites are reached with special browsers that obscure the location and identity of the user and the server, making it hard for officials to locate and shut down sites. According to the Bangkok Post, Thai police said Cazes hanged himself in jail where he was being held pending extradition to the US. "There are more of these operations to come".

Wainwright said the investigation had resulted in the identification of numerous organized crime figures and that intelligence leads have been distributed to law enforcement in 37 countries around the world. The FBI didn't respond to WIRED's request for more information, and Europol declined to comment beyond its press statement.

But don't expect even this law enforcement victory to permanently damage the dark web's black market business.

AlphaBay, which reportedly listed almost 300,000 items for sale at the time of its disappearance, went down on 3 July.

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