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The Justice Department has shut down the largest criminal marketplace on the internet.
AlphaBay, which operated for more than two years on the dark web, was trafficking in illegal drugs, stolen and fraudulent identification, counterfeit goods, hacking tools, firearms, and toxic chemicals throughout the world.
"This is likely one of the most important criminal investigations of the year -- taking down the largest dark net marketplace in history," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
According to public information, AlphaBay claimed it had more than 200,000 users and 40,000 vendors. At the time it was shut down, the company listed more than 250,000 postings for illegal drugs and toxic chemicals and 100,000 offerings of stolen and fraudulent identification documents and other illegal property.
Officials said AlphaBay served as a hub for transnational, organized crime. They arrested and charged Alexandre Casez, who created the website, with conspiracy, racketeering, and related crimes. He reportedly committed suicide while in custody in Thailand.
According to criminal complaints, the dark net site was a major source of heroin and other illegal drugs that led to overdose deaths, including a 13-year-old Utah boy. Prosecutors filed charges against defendants in various states.
Chuck Rosenberg, acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency, said the government is doing all it can do stave the crime wave on the dark net. But it is not easy.
"We are keenly aware that there will be another AlphaBay," he said.
Last month, a federal appeals court affirmed a life sentence against the founder of another dark net company. The Silk Road, however, was 10 times smaller than AlphaBay.
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