Cyber Crime

Dispute moderator for Alphabay market sentenced to 11 years in prison

Alphaybay marketplace was seized by authorities back in 2017 after which its admin Alexandre Cazes had committed suicide by hanging himself in Thai prison.

A couple of years ago it was reported that the US court had ordered authorities to seize assets and properties of deceased AlphaBay operator Alexandre Cazes. Now, the United States Department of Justice has announced that the dispute-moderator of the infamous dark web marketplace Alphabay has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

A trip down memory lane, Alphabay apparently was the biggest dark web marketplace that ensued a stronghold of the underground illicit criminal economy involved in the trading of drugs, weaponry, stolen identity information, databases, credit card numbers, and other illegal commodities and services.

However, Bryan Connor Herelle from Aurora, Colorado also nicknamed as ‘Penissmith’ and ‘Botah’ was a moderator on the marketplace wherein, vendors and customers engaged in thousands of illegal transactions.

The 26-year-old perpetrator besides settling disputes also worked as a scam watcher and monitored instances of defrauding against Alphabay users. For his services, Herrell was paid in cryptocurrency.



 

It is noteworthy that in 2017, the admin of Alphabay, Alexandre Cazes committed suicide by hanging himself in Thai prison. The late admin was accused of facilitating and benefiting enormously from illegal goods and services to the US and overseas customers through the marketplace.

Alexandre Cazes, the admin of AlphaBay marketplace reportedly hanged himself with a towel at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau in Laksi district.

In July 2017, Cazes was charged for identity theft, racketeering, money laundering, fraud, and trafficking. However, his indictment was later dismissed due to his death.

Nevertheless, collective efforts from the FBI, DEA, and Europol, and other law enforcement agencies proved fruitful. The press release mentions that the authorities are still hot on their trail and will find threat actors involved in fraudulent activities as such.

“The department will continue to work tirelessly to hold accountable criminals who use the Dark Web to facilitate illegal activity no matter where they may be located.”

This case is also a staunch reminder that such criminals cannot break the law or hide behind technology. Not only this, but customers involved in the buying of drugs and other illegal commodities should think twice and will be caught in due time.

Also, the FBI has a panel of cyber investigators looking to bust dark web marketplaces particularly those involved in selling dangerous drugs such as opioids and fentanyl. 

International law enforcement agencies are also working to eliminate threats posit by the dark web. Successful dismantling is in pursuits especially for predatory activities preying on communities through the ‘use of sophisticated computer code’.

AlphaBay and Hansa were popular dark web marketplaces that were subsequently seized by the feds. The later made news for being home to vendors selling databases extracted from popular platforms such as Dropbox, MySpace, and LinkedIn amongst others.

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