AUTHORITIES in Thailand on Friday said the Canadian co-founder of one of the world’s biggest marketplace on the Dark Web had been found hanged in a police cell in Bangkok.
According to The Nation, the body of 26-year-old Alexander Cazes — the co-founder of Alpha Bay, was discovered in his cell at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau headquarters on Wednesday following his arrest earlier this week.
A police officer found his body after noticing a towel hanging from a toilet door. The case has been classified as suicide as it was believed that the suspect committed suicide.
Cazes’ death came ahead of a deportation hearing he was due to attend and barely days after US authorities have moved to shut down Alpha Bay, leaving many customers speculating that the administrators had deliberately taken the site off the web and running off with their money.
Police Maj Gen Chayapoj Hasunha head of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau’s intelligence division was quoted as saying that the “computer programmer”, who lived a luxurious lifestyle since moving to Thailand eight years ago, was arrested on July 5 at the request of US Authorities.
Thailand’s criminal court had issued an arrest order on June 30 after receiving a request from US law enforcement authorities.
He was also said to have been married to a Thai woman and had been running the Dark Web site where customers can obtain illicit items, from drugs to firearms, over the internet.
With the arrest, police also seized at least four Lamborghini sports cars and three properties worth some THB400 million (USD$12 million).
The Criminal Court in Thailand issued a warrant for the suspect’s arrest on June 30 at the request of U.S. law enforcement authorities. According to the Bangkok Post, during the arrest on July 5 in the Thawi Watthana district of Bangkok, investigators seized four Lamborghini cars and three houses worth approximately 400 million baht in total (nearly $12 million).
According to the Wall Street Journal, AlphaBay was founded in December 2014, and soon became known as the new “Silk Road Marketplace”, which US authorities had shut down in Oct 2013.
The WSJ quoted Andrei Barysevich, a director at the threat intelligence company Recorded Future Inc., as saying that apart from drugs and firearms, AlphaBay served as a platform for the advertising of products and services that other underground markets banned, such as stolen credit card numbers and online fraud tutorials.
Barysevich said in the first half of 2017 alone, AlphaBay sold more than US$5 million worth of stolen credit card information.
On average Alpha Bay recorded some US$600,000 to US$800,000 in sales a day, raking up millions in annual profits, analysts said.