US DEA Says They Shut Down “Dark Net” Market for Heroin, Fentanyl

“This is likely one of the most important criminal investigations of the year taking down the largest dark net marketplace in history”, said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Guns, drugs and illegal documents allegedly traded on “dark net” site Alphabay

July 20, 2017-The United States Drug Enforcement Administration announced today that they shut down a “dark net site” which they allege was linked to the illegal sale of heroin and fentanyl. “The Justice Department today announced the seizure of the largest criminal marketplace on the Internet, AlphaBay, which operated for over two years on the dark web and was used to sell deadly illegal drugs, stolen and fraudulent identification documents and access devices, counterfeit goods, malware and other computer hacking tools, firearms, and toxic chemicals throughout the world” the agency announced.

The massive international criminal investigation was led by law enforcement officials from the United States and included authorities in Thailand, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Canada, the United Kingdom, and France, as
well as the European law enforcement agency Europol. “On July 5, Alexandre Cazes aka Alpha02 and Admin, 25, a Canadian citizen residing in Thailand, was arrested by Thai authorities on behalf of the United States for his role as the creator and administrator of AlphaBay. On July 12, Cazes apparently took his own life while in custody in Thailand. Cazes was charged in an indictment (1:17-CR-00144-LJO), filed in the Eastern District of California on June 1, with one count of conspiracy to engage in racketeering, one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, six counts of distribution of narcotics, one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft, four counts of unlawful transfer of false identification documents, one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, one count of trafficking in device making equipment, and one count of money laundering conspiracy. Law enforcement authorities in the United States worked with numerous foreign partners to freeze and preserve millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies that were the subject of forfeiture counts in the indictment, and that represent the proceeds of the AlphaBay organizations illegal activities” officials stated.

“On July 19, the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of California filed a civil forfeiture complaint against Alexandre Cazes and his wife’s assets located throughout the world, including in Thailand, Cyprus, Lichtenstein, and Antigua & Barbuda. Cazes and his wife amassed numerous high value assets, including luxury
vehicles, residences and a hotel in Thailand. Cazes also possessed millions of dollars in cryptocurrency, which has been seized by the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)” the statement continues.

This is likely one of the most important criminal investigations of the year taking down the largest dark net marketplace in history, said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. DEA alleges that Alphabay boasted over 40,000 active sellers and 200,000 users. “Around the time of takedown, there were over 250,000 listings for illegal drugs and toxic chemicals on AlphaBay, and over 100,000 listings for stolen and fraudulent identification documents and access devices, counterfeit goods, malware and other computer hacking tools, firearms and fraudulent services.”

Officials say the investigation is related to numerous pending prosecutions in the United States and investigation is ongoing. Charges contained in an indictment or complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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