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Hanged man was 'dark web mastermind'

15 July 2017

On Wednesday, Cazes was found dead, hanged in his Thai jail cell.

AlphaBay, a dark web marketplace for wares in the "not exactly legal" category, went offline in early July, and many users assumed the admins decided to make away with their money. The officer unlocked and entered the cell and found Cazes dead in the toilet.

Melissa Sweeney, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, stated Cazes was taken into custody by Thai authorities "with a view toward extradition to face federal criminal charges in the United States". Members of the high-technology crime division of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are now searching Cazes' apartment in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, and have claimed at least some of the site's servers, opening the possibility that other AlphaBay operators may be swept up in the investigation pending what the cybercrime unit is able to recover.

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Cazes had been living in Thailand with his wife for eight years, working as a computer programmer. He had been detained in Bangokok since July 5 at the request of US authorities.

Described by local press as having lived in Thailand for 8 years and being married to a Thai woman, Cazes is subsequently alleged to have committed suicide in his cell at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau building in Laksi district, Bangkok on June 12. When he was taken into custody, police reported also seizing four Lamborghinis and three houses worth almost $12 million.

The towel was among his personal belongings and he was believed to have used it to hang himself. It opened in 2014 in the wake of the 2013 closure of Silk Road, a similar cryptomarket.

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According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the site's shutdown was far from voluntary, as the online marketplace went down following a combined operation by law enforcement in the US, Canada and Thailand.

In addition to drugs, AlphaBay made a significant chunk of its revenue enabling the sale of stolen credit card numbers, as well as firearms. "AlphaBay was the biggest marketplace on the Dark Web", he said. Nicolas Christin - associate research professor at Carnegie Mellon University and online marketplace expert - told WSJ that estimated the daily sales on the site were between $600,000 and $800,000.

It is unclear if Cazes was an AlphaBay staff member or a vendor on the site. Threat intelligence experts reckon that other darknet marketplaces will grow to fill the gap left by AlphaBay's demise.

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Hanged man was 'dark web mastermind'