Two of the three largest dark web markets have been shut down by the US Department of Justice and Europol.
The two authorities announced Thursday that AlphaBay and Hansa the worlds biggest dark web marketplaces that served thousands of customers trading illegal goods online have been taken down.
AlphaBay had over 200,000 customers and more than 40,000 sellers peddling illegal goods. The website had 100,000 listings for sale at the time of the governments take down. In comparison, Silk Road, one of the most notorious dark web markets, had 14,000 listings when the FBI shut down the site four years ago. Hansa was the third largest dark web market when it shut down.
“I believe that because of this operation, the American people are safer from the threat of identity fraud and malware, and safer from deadly drugs,” attorney general Jeff Sessions said at a press conference Thursday. He called the bust one of the “most important criminal cases” of the year.
The website made $1 billion in sales before it was shut down in a joint operation of the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Dutch police and Europol.
According to CNET, AlphaBay’s shutdown caused users to flock Hansa, increasing the dark market’s traffic in eightfold, Wainwright said. Dutch police took over Hansa last month and have been collecting thousands of user’s information in an undercover operation.
Last October Indian police raided nine calls centers — eight which were located Thane in Maharashtra — and arrested over 70 people on suspicion of posing as US IRS agents to con cash from U.S. citizens. U.S. prosecutors say the defendants also posed as immigration officers and threatened victims with deportation unless they paid a fine immediately. The scam had been going on ran for more than a year.