Justice Dept. announces takedown of dark web drug market

21 July, 2017, 00:39 | Author: Archie Newman
  • Hansa Market shut down

USA law enforcement working with their counterparts in the Netherlands and with the continent-wide law enforcement agency Europol, were able to identify the individuals behind Hansa and shut it down.

The Trump administration just announced a dark net shutdown that investigators call "the largest dark-market web place takedown in world history".

With Alphabay shut down, many of its users migrated to Hansa Market, making information gathering by Dutch authorities even more valuable.

Rather than similarly infiltrate the other Dark Web marketplace, AlphaBay, once the investigators had control of Hansa they merely shut it down.

After darknet market AlphaBay went offline on July 4, many of its users migrated to Hansa Market - and played right into the hands of an "Operation Bayonet", a coordinated global law enforcement action.

Cazes was later found dead in his jail cell, apparently after taking his own life.

Federal authorities on Thursday announced that AlphaBay, one of the largest "dark net" Internet sites used to sell illegal drugs and contraband, was shut down and its founder was arrested in Thailand.

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The suspected administrators of the Hansa marketplace were arrested in Germany and are now in custody.

Dutch Police took over the Hansa, the third largest dark web marketplace on 20 June. What those dark web users didn't-and couldn't-know: That chaos was planned.

Authorities say they shared intelligence with 37 countries, including details about 38,000 drug-related transactions. Over the course of the entire operation, he said that Dutch police were able to scoop up some 10,000 addresses for Hansa buyers outside Holland.

"Most of this activity was in illegal drugs, pouring fuel on the fire of the national drug epidemic", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a press conference in Washington on Thursday.

Europol executive director Rob Wainwright said: "This is an outstanding success by authorities in Europe and the US". Day-to-day operations were run with the help of as many as ten anonymous employees who went by names that included "Disc0", "Trappy", "BigMuscles", "Botah", "Onionhood" and "MountainHigh9".

Alphabay has hosted more than $1 billion in transactions since its founding in 2014, according to a statement from Europol, with transactions paid in bitcoin and other crypto currencies.

The take-down of the two largest criminal dark web markets in the world by European and American law enforcement authorities shows the important and necessary result of worldwide cooperation to fight this criminality. He confirmed that the site's administrators were arrested as part of the takedown, who attempted to use "anonymizing techniques" to try and hide their identities and locations, and revealing that required additional assistance from other law enforcement agencies. But on Thursday, European law enforcement revealed that a second darknet site known as Hansa had also been in police hands for the past month, an announcement deliberately created to sow panic among tech-savvy dealers and buyers. Europol stated that the Dutch National Police "could identify and disrupt the regular criminal activity on Hansa but then also sweep up all those new users displaced from AlphaBay who were looking for a new trading platform".

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