The United States Department of Justice announced Thursday that it shut down the massive dark web marketplace AlphaBay in conjunction with law enforcement agencies in several other countries.

Europol also announced Dutch authorities took control of and shut down another dark web marketplace known as Hansa Market as part of a sweep of the popular destinations for buying and selling illegal goods and services.

Read: AlphaBay Offline: Dark Web Market May Have Disappeared In Bitcoin-Stealing Exit Scheme

Earlier this month, authorities in the United States, Canada and Thailand took coordinated action against the operators of the AlphaBay—an anonymous, online marketplace where users could buy and sell a number of illegal goods including drugs, credit card information, guns and other goods or services.

Those actions led to the arrest of Alexandre Cazes, the founder of AlphaBay. A civil forfeiture complaint filed against Cazes noted that he used the handle alpha02—an administrator account on the AlphaBay site—and the account was open on his computer when law enforcement raided his home on July 5.

Authorities said they discovered Cazes’ identity because he left his personal email in the welcome message sent to new AlphaBay members and in the head of the AlphaBay forum’s password recovery process. Cazes used the email address

Canadian authorities determined the Hotmail account was registered to a man named Alexandre Cazes and discovered other instances of the Alpha02 handle online—including on a French language tech forum—registered to the email address.

Read: AlphaBay Market Shut Down: Site Goes Offline After Raids, Founder Kills Himself

Investigators were able to link Cazes to his front company, EBX Technologies, prior to his arrest. When he was taken into custody, authorities were able to seize $8.8 million in digital currency from his computer, which was unencrypted. Police also reported seizing four Lamborghinis and three houses worth nearly $12 million.

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said AlphaBay was "10 times the size of Silk Road," one of the original dark web markets to gain public attention. Similar to Cazes’ fate, the found of the Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested after law enforcement traced one of his accounts to a public email address.

According to documents from federal officials, AlphaBay had over 369,000 listings on the site as of June 2017. AlphaBay was believed to do between $600,000 and $800,000 in transactions per day.

 Michael Daly, the chief technical officer at technology firm and government contractor Raytheon, told International Business Times the dismantling of AlphaBay is "a major victory" in the fight against online crime. "Not only did [the Department of Justice] shut down a major illegal marketplace, but it also sent a message to cyber criminals that enough is enough," Daly said.


Rick Holland, the vice president of strategy at cyber threat monitoring firm Digital Shadows, told IBT AlphaBay "had established itself as a prominent ‘go to’ platform for the trade in illegal goods" and its takedown is "a hugely positive step" as it will undermine the confidence of cyber criminals and disrupt the flow of their business.

While Holland viewed the shut down of AlphaBay and Hansa Market as a major victory, he cautioned that users will continue to flock to alternative sites. Holland noted former AlphaBay users have already launched their own spinoff market called GammaBay and have used their reputation and connections to carry on their trade.

"This is an ongoing battle and law enforcement will seek to stay one step ahead of the cyber criminals,” Holland said.

Cazes, a Canadian citizen, was expected to be extradited to the U.S. to face criminal charges for his role in starting and operating AlphaBay. Cazes died by suicide on July 13 when he was discovered hanged in his cell.

Suspicions about the future of AlphaBay started to rise July 4 when the site went offline without any prior notification. The site remained essentially inaccessible for days after the fact, prompting some users to speculate about an exit scheme, in which an operator suddenly closes shop and takes all of the money buyers and vendors have in their accounts with them.