On July 4, AlphaBay Market went offline without explanations, causing a lot of it’s users to suspect a fraud as they saw the website’s bitcoin wallets being emptied.
Now we know from the Wall Street Journal that the marketplace went down after a series of police raids were conducted by law enforcement of the USA, Canada, and Thailand. On July 5, Montreal Gazette reported searches which had taken place earlier in the morning. However, the Canadian raids didn’t result in arrests.
AlphaBay was a dark web market often called “the new Silk Road” as it had become another place where people could buy drugs, weapons, stolen credit card numbers, and other illegal items. Silk Road had also been shut down by police.
During the raid, the Thai police arrested Alexandre Cazes, a Canadian citizen, who was believed to be one of the site’s operators. The 26-year-old man had been residing in the warm and sunny Asian country for 8 years. He had a Thai wife, according to Chiangrai Times. The law enforcement seized four Lamborghinis and documents for three palatial houses. All together, Cazes’ property was worth about 400 million baht ($11.7 million).
On July 5, he was put into Custody in Bangkok to await extradition to the USA. However, this would never happen. On Wednesday, a few hours before the deportation hearing, a guard found him hanged on his towel in the jail cell:
“A duty officer noticed a towel hanging from the toilet door in his cell about 7am, but could not see him, police said. The officer unlocked and entered the cell and found Cazes dead in the toilet,” Chiangrai Times report.
However, there’s a slight chance the connection between the raids and the shutdown of the marketplace might be delusive: there’s no strong evidence that Cazes is nobody but an administrator of AlphaBay’s, and “after” doesn’t necessarily mean “because of”. By locals, the man was known as a computer programmer.