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Jail cell suicide: Lord of the Dark Web

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Mastermind of biggest illegal marketplace since Silk Road living life of luxury as tourist in Thailand, market closed down as part of global US operation.

DARK WEB & TOURISM

Jail cell suicide: Lord of the Dark Web

15/07/2017

A Canadian man was found hanged in a Bangkok jail cell this week.

The man owned more than one expensive supercar and hundreds of millions of baht of expensive real estate as well.

At first, authorities referred to him as a computer programmer, a good job but not usually accompanied by great wealth.

CO-FOUNDER OF DARK WEB MARKETPLACE ALPHABAY

A little later, all was explained when it was announced that the man was was a suspected co- founder of AlphaBay, a notorious marketplace where illegal goods are sold.

In fact, Alphabay was one of the world's largest "dark web" marketplaces and was shut down the day the man was arrested.

CENTER OF AN FBI INVESTIGATION

Alexandre Cazes was at the centre of an FBI investigation into the multi-billion-dollar market for illicit drugs, firearms and pirated personal data, US law enforcement officials said.

Cazes, 26, originally from Trois Rivieres, Quebec in the French-speaking part of Canada, was found dead in his cell at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) on Wednesday, only an hour before he was to meet with prosecutors handling his extradition to the United States.

Police seized several million dollars, four Lamborghini cars and three properties when Cazes was arrested at his home on Phutthamonthon Sai 3 in Thawi Watthana district on July 5.

ALPHABAY WENT OFFLINE ON DAY OF HIS ARREST

The same day as his arrest, AlphaBay went offline, prompting rumours that its administrators had run off with customers' money.

But the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that a law enforcement operation spanning three countries had shut down the site, with Canadian police seizing its servers in Quebec.

ONLINE DRUG TRADE THROWN INTO CHAOS

AlphaBay's closure has reportedly thrown the online drug trade into chaos.

The site, believed to have been created in 2014, was estimated to have had listings of almost 300,000 items of contraband that brought revenue of between US$600,000 and $800,000 a day,

This earning its operators millions of dollars in commissions each year, Wired magazine reported.

LIVED IN THAILAND FOR 8-YEARS, WEALTH OF $15 MILLION DOLLARS 

Cazes, according to Canadian media reports, had lived in Thailand for eight years as a computer specialist.

A preliminary assessment placed his wealth at about $15 million.

The day Cazes was arrested in Thailand, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police executed search warrants at his mother’s home and a storage site in Trois-Rivieres.

The same day, the AlphaBay site disappeared.

LARGEST ILLICIT MARKETPLACE SINCE SILK ROAD

AlphaBay was said to be the largest illicit marketplace to emerge on the dark web since Silk Road, which operated from 2011 until US authorities shut it down in October 2013.

Details around the AlphaBay takedown remain murky, according to Wired.

MIGRATION OF USERS TO NEW SITE

It said that posts on dark web forums and Reddit discussion pages devoted to illicit markets indicated that many users had migrated to Hansa, which has more than 24,000 drug listings.

But by Thursday, Hansa had closed its doors to new business.

"Due to the influx of AlphaBay refugees we are dealing with technical issues," read a message on the site.

"We have set a stop on new registrations until further notice."

Local authorities say all evidence surrounding the death of Caze pointed to suicide.

An initial examination of the body, together with witness statements, found “no clues that suggest he didn’t hang himself”, said Pol Maj Gen Sunthon Chalermkiat, a commander attached to the NSB.



http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/crime/1287667/hanged-man-was-dark-web-kingpin

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