Crime | July 21, 2017 11:48 am

Two Largest Black Markets on the Dark Web Busted in Global Raid

AlphaBay and Hansa sold guns, drugs, and other illicit goods to internet users.

Global Sting on Dark Web Sites
A multinational effort involving the FBI, the DEA, and the Dutch National Police has closed down the operations of AlphaBay and Hansa—two huge sites on the dark Web that sell guns, drugs, and other illicit goods. (Getty Images)

It’s been a bad month for the bad guys on the Internet.

The longest-ever sting operation, which closed down a digital black market that did $1 billion in sales over three years, was announced on Thursday. A multinational effort shuttered AlphaBay and Hansa—two of the largest sites on the dark web for drugs, guns, and other illicit goods—but not before quietly monitoring their activities.

After Silk Road, one of the first digital bazaars for all things illict, was shut down in 2013, AlphaBay quickly rose to prominence as its replacement. When the FBI closed it down, hundreds of buyers and sellers were sent scrambling from the largest online black market to Hansa and fell into right into a trap coordinated with European authorities, according to Wired.

Law enforcement officials seized control of both sites at the same time, but after a brief interruption let Hansa continue operating. AlphaBay refugees migrated over to Hansa and resume their criminal activity, while the FBI and Europol monitored their every move. Authorities recorded the transactions, user names, passwords of Hansa users, but it remains unclear who will be prosecuted.

Department of Justics hasn’t indicted anyone from AlphaBay or Hansa, but was seeking extradition for Canadian Alexandre Cazes, an AlphaBay administator living Thailand. Wired reports Cazes, who has an estimated net worth of $23 million, was found dead in a Bangkok jail cell from an apparent suicide last week.