The Dark Web Drug Trade Just Took a Major Hit

It isn't unusual for Dark Web hubs to go offline for periods of time, particularly when they are dealing in illicit material, but this time the website never came back up.

The Dark Web is a place that most people really don’t understand, though they may have already heard of it. In pop culture the Dark Web is the Wild West of the internet. The place where the elite computer users go to trade highly secret information. It’s a place where assassins lend out their services — for a price. While these romanticized notions aren’t strictly false, they aren’t really the whole story either. The Dark Web, as it turns out, is largely used as an avenue for the illicit drug trade. AlphaBay is one of the largest marketplaces on the Dark Web for illegal drugs and there have been rumors that it was going to be shut down. Those rumors turned out to be true.

Over the past week or so AlphaBay has been completely shut down. It isn’t unusual for Dark Web hubs to go offline for periods of time, particularly when they are dealing in illicit material, but this time the website never came back up. Rumors were immediately circulating that the owners of the AlphaBay were in trouble and these rumors turned out to be true. Alexandre Cazes, one of the head operators of AlphaBay, was arrested in an international drug sting while he was in Thailand. Thailand cooperated with the United States and Canada, home of Cazes, in order to extradite Cazes for charges. Charges, however, would never come.

Later that day Alexandre Cazes was found deceased in his cell due to an apparent suicide. Even with Cazes’ tragic death, the investigation is continuing. Drug enforcement operatives are currently searching through Cazes’ apartment as well as all of his technology in order to find more links to the Dark Web in order to get more of the drug trade shut down. While most people are not aware of what AlphaBay does, they are probably impacted by their actions all the same.

A huge reason for AlphaBay’s intense scrutiny, outside of the obvious, is that they profited directly from both stolen firearms and hacked credit card numbers. The unbelievable amount of traffic on the website made them a hotspot for all sorts of illicit deals. On average AlphaBay was bringing in nearly $800,000 worth of profit every single day. Still, Cazes’ arrest proves that nowhere is safe for the illicit drug trade. With the Silk Road shuttering its doors years ago and Alpha Bay following, the Dark Web’s drug trade has taken a major hit.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/14/15975140/alphabay-dark-web-drug-marketplace-police-shutdown-silk-road

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