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Dark web marketplaces fueling illegal U.S. gun exports

Dark web marketplaces fueling illegal U.S. gun exports

Earlier this month, authorities in the United States, Canada and Thailand took coordinated action against the operators of the AlphaBay-an anonymous, online marketplace where users could buy and sell a number of illegal goods including drugs, credit card information, guns and other goods or services.

According to Europol, AlphaBay was the largest criminal marketplace on the darknet, with more than 200,000 users and 40,000 vendors.

The FBI, DEA and Dutch National Police led the investigation. "Make no mistake, the forces of law and justice face a new challenge from the criminals and transnational criminal organizations who think they can commit their crimes with impunity by 'going dark.' This case, pursued by dedicated agents and prosecutors, says you are not safe", he added. But on Thursday, European law enforcement revealed that a second darknet site known as Hansa had also been in police hands for the past month, an announcement deliberately created to sow panic among tech-savvy dealers and buyers.

Silk Road, formerly the biggest illegal online marketplace, operated from 2011 to 2013.

The FBI then shut down AlphaBay and over the following weeks there was a huge migration of users from AlphaBay to Hansa, all of which was tracked by the European part of the team.

Dastardly villains of the dark web have no place to run, no place to hide. "We will find and prosecute drug traffickers who set up shop there".

Department of Justice officials announced Thursday in Washington, DC that they had shut down notorious online Dark Web marketplace AlphaBay in conjunction with law enforcement across several countries.Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein said that Dutch authorities also shut down Hansa Market, another Tor-hidden underground drug market.

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The takedown was part of a larger global effort to take down dark web sites, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said at the news conference.

Alexandre Cazes was later found dead in a Bangkok jail after apparently taking his own life, the US Department of Justice said.

Law enforcement officials have struggled for years to crack down on these marketplaces, which are hard to locate because their software is distributed across the Tor network, which anonymises users and makes them nearly impossible to track. Vendors who flee those sites for Dream Market may still be compromised by law enforcement, and if arrested, could potentially give up the addresses of any new Dream Market's customers, too. "We face many challenges and require worldwide assistance to overcome those challenges".

"This operation is an example of the improving concerted ability of law enforcement to strike against criminals, even on the dark net", he said.

But when one marketplace goes offline, that doesn't stop the trade of illegal items - instead those users migrate to a different site.

He said: "We are keenly aware there will be another Alpha Bay, but with each investigation we learn more".

"There are more of these operations to come", a Europol official stated.

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