One of the most prominent dark web marketplaces, AlphaBay, mysteriously shut down earlier in the month. Although users feared that the site's disappearance could have been an exit scam, it has now come to light that the dark web market was reportedly closed as a result of a coordinated effort by authorities from the US, Canada and Thailand.
Alexandre Cazes, 26, believed to be the alleged founder of the infamous dark web drugs market, has reportedly been found dead in a prison cell in Thailand.
Citing unspecified sources, The Wall Street Journal reported that law enforcement authorities in the US, Canada and Thailand collaborated to arrest Cazes, who was allegedly the head of the dark web operation. Cazes, a Canadian citizen was arrested on 5 July in Thailand, a day after AlphaBay went down.
The Bangkok Post reported that Thai police said that Cazes was waiting to be extradited when he was found dead in his cell by a prison guard. Thai authorities reportedly believe that the alleged dark web drug dealer hanged himself using a towel.
AlphaBay suddenly sprung up, shortly after police took down Silk Road. Andrei Barysevich, director at Recorded Future told the Journal that AlphaBay was "the biggest marketplace on the dark web," raking in anywhere between $600,000 and $800,000 per day. When Cazes was arrested Thai police reportedly found and impounded four Lamborghinis and nearly $11.7m in Thai currency.
"I'm very curious to see over the coming days and weeks how users react to the news. The drug community is naturally a little bit more skittish than the fraud community, and I think we will see them more openly discuss their intentions for next steps," Emily Wilson, an analyst at dark web monitoring firm Terbium Labs told Gizmodo. "The question now remains whether or not the vendors who were trading in non-drug related goods move on to the remaining major markets or if we begin to see a major fraud-related (not just carding-related) market take shape."