As of early this year, the department says there were hundreds of vendors advertising heroin and fentanyl on Cazes' Alpha-Bay.
The US seized AlphaBay's infrastructure with the help of law enforcement authorities in Thailand, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Canada, the United Kingdom, and France, as well as the European law enforcement agency Europol.
"Europol has been supporting the investigation of criminal marketplaces on the Dark Web for a number of years", the organization noted.
It's still unclear how global law enforcement penetrated the two sites, both of which hid the location of their servers, administrators, and users with anonymity software like Tor and I2P.
Dutch National Police - aided by Europol and other European agencies - are said to have taken control of Hansa on June 20th, and monitored activities until it was shut down today.
Though the officials who announced the seizure emphasized the importance of removing the largest marketplace on the dark web, they acknowledged that it will do little more than pause the flow of illegal marketplace to the relative secrecy of the dark web.
Then on July 4th, investigators made a strike against Alphabay, shutting down the site but not yet revealing their involvement, leading to speculation by its users that Alphabay's founder might have absconded with the funds. Visitors to the online marketplace paid through digital currencies such as Bitcoin.
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Elsewhere an Federal Bureau of Investigation and DEA-led operation called Bayonet, identified a suspect whom they believed could be the creator and administrator of AlphaBay, a Canadian citizen resident in Thailand. "We will find and prosecute drug traffickers who set up shop there".
AlphaBay alone had 200,000 customers and more than 40,000 sellers peddling illegal goods, making it the largest takedown for a dark web marketplace ever.
The US Attorney General said "crime knows no borders". Cazes was arrested in Thailand on July 5, a day after the website was taken down at the request of the US.
The Justice Department said Thursday the internet's largest "dark market" has been shut down. Police seized millions of dollars in assets, four luxury cars and three properties.
"Unfortunately, the demand for these kinds of goods and services is large enough that we will always see other dark markets rise in place of those recently busted", said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology, a civil-liberties group in Washington.
"This is an outstanding success by authorities in Europe and the US", Rob Wainwright, executive director of Europol.
It also allowed for weapons and web malware to be purchased. Mr Cazes died in jail last week, apparently by taking his own life, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice.
The way that the police operation was rolled out appeared created to give police as many new leads as possible.
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