dglobalnews.com US, European police say 'dark web' markets shut down
Published: Fri, July 21, 2017
Markets | By Armando Jensen

US, European police say 'dark web' markets shut down

US, European police say 'dark web' markets shut down

The Justice Department announced Thursday that it had shuttered an illicit Internet marketplace for drugs, firearms and fake documents in what Attorney General Jeff Sessions said was the "largest dark web takedown in world history". There were more than 250,000 listings for illegal drugs and toxic chemicals on AlphaBay, according to Europol.

The operation was led by the United States but involved cooperation among worldwide law enforcement in Thailand, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Canada, the United Kingdom, and France, as well as the European police agency.

Of course, when it came times to take questions from the press, all the questions were about the comments by President Trump to the New York Times in which he said he wouldn't have tapped Sessions for his role if Trump knew Sessions would recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation.

Dark net markets enable large-scale trading in chiefly illegal goods, such as drugs, weapons, child pornography, and ransom software.

"Since the undercover operation to take over Hansa market by the Dutch police, usernames and passwords of thousands of buyers and sellers of illicit commodities have been identified and are the subject of follow-up investigations by Europol and our partner agencies".

USA security officials claimed a major victory on Thursday as two of the so-called dark web's largest marketplaces were shut down. Since then, they have been using it to covertly monitor criminal activities on the platform until it was shut down today (20 July 2017). Customers bought illegal goods using digital currencies, the USA said. Millions of dollars in cryptocurrency were frozen and seized, as were servers in Canada and the Netherlands, according to the press release.

Cazes, a Canadian citizen living in Thailand, was arrested on July 5 and is believed to have hanged himself in his cell on July 12. "You can not hide. We will find you".

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He said the Congress would fully "cooperate" with the government on issues relating to national security. But this time it is a totally different case.

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 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.

AlphaBay went offline around the same time as the arrest. Thai police arrested Cazes earlier this month on behalf of the United States, though Cazes apparently committed suicide while in Thai custody, according to the Justice Department.

Police in Thailand also seized millions of dollars in assets, three properties and four Lamborghini cars.

"This is an outstanding success by authorities in Europe and the U.S.", Rob Wainwright, the executive director of Europol, said at the Thursday news conference in Washington, where he appeared alongside the U.S. Attorney General, the acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the deputy director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Alphabay had been seen as a successor to Silk Road, another massive dark web market that processed around $15million of transactions a year.

The operation was similar to a controversial case in the U.S. where authorities seized a child porn darknet site and continued to run it for two weeks at an increased capacity to ensnare more users.

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