Thai police said Monday they had seized millions of dollars in assets belonging to the founder of AlphaBay, the world’s most profitable dark web marketplace, where users traded illicit goods, including drugs and weapons.
Officials said they froze 726 million baht (U.S. $21.73 million) in assets – from luxury vehicles to crypto-currency – owned by Alexander Joseph Cazes, a Canadian who allegedly committed suicide on July 12 while in Thai custody prior to extradition to the United States.
Cazes, 25, and his Thai wife, Sunisa Cazes, were arrested at their home in Bangkok on July 5 at the request of the United States, deputy national police chief Gen. Chalermkiat Sriworakhan told a news conference.
The dark web is the term for content that exists on darknets, computer networks built on top of other networks that can be accessed only with specific software. Connections are re-routed through layers of servers, allowing users to remain anonymous.
Websites on the dark web are not indexed, meaning online surfers will not see them by doing a Google search.
Lt. Gen. Sommai Kongvisaisuk, chief of Thai police’s Narcotics Suppression Bureau, told reporters that Cazes managed the world’s biggest online merchant of drugs and illicit items from his home in Bangkok.
“The whole world was in his hand,” Sommai said during the news conference.
Cazes was from Quebec, Canada, and launched AlphaBay in 2014 in Thailand, where he had been living for almost four years, officials said.
AlphaBay had more than 350,000 listings for illegal drugs, stolen and fraudulent identification documents, counterfeit goods, malware, firearms and fraudulent services around the time that it was taken down, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
It said AlphaBay took the place of Silk Road, another dark web marketplace shut down by the FBI in November 2013. Silk Road, which was then the largest marketplace, had only 14,000 listings when it was seized.
Thai officials said among Cazes’s assets seized are a villa in resort Island of Phuket, valued at 200 million baht ($5.9 million), a house valued at 99 million baht ($2.96 million) in Bangkok, a 2013 Lamborghini Aventador, a Porsche Panamera, millions of dollars in digital currencies and computers.
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