In the wake of Silk Road’s closure by the FBI back in 2013, a number of other dark web marketplaces sprung up in its place, the most successful of these being AlphaBay. But when the site, which sells a variety of illegal goods, went offline earlier this month, many assumed the admins had absconded with users’ Bitcoins. But it seems the blackout was the result of a joint takedown operation by authorities in the US, Canada, and Thailand.
Like Silk Road’s alleged mastermind Ross Ulbricht, the man accused of being behind AlphaBay, Canadian citizen Alexandre Cazes, found himself behind bars after his arrest at the request of US authorities.
He was taken into custody in Thailand on July 5th – the day AlphaBay went dark. According to sources in Thailand, Cazes took his own life on July 12. He was found hanging from a towel in his cell at the Narcotics Bureau of Bangkok on the same day he was due to meet a lawyer in preparation for his extradition to the US.
Cazes had reportedly turned AlphaBay into a lucrative business. The Bangkok Post reports that local police impounded his four Lamborghinis and three houses, which added up to a total value of $11.8 million. Police believe the marketplace's total daily sales were between $600,000 - $800,000 at its height.
According to Pol Maj Gen Chayapote Hasoonha, intelligence section commander at the Bureau, Cazes had fled to Thailand eight years ago to avoid a drug prosecution in the United States. He worked as a computer programmer and had a Thai wife who had no doubts that his death was a suicide.