Two of the most notorious dark websites- ‘AlphaBay’ and ‘Hansa’, that were associated with illicit trade and dealings of harmful substances like drugs, guns, malware etc., were closed this July claimed the U.S. Justice Department. They had more than 250,000 listings of various drugs, toxic chemicals and different weapons that could be bought by anyone browsing the Dark Web.

U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Dutch National Police and Europe have united to bring about the closure of these websites. Hansa was seized in late June but was monitored by the authorities and AlphaBay was shuttered in early July.

Two people were arrested and the servers in Germany, The Netherlands and Lithuania were seized by the Dutch National Police. In this quest, Alexandre Caze, suspected founder of AlphaBay was also arrested but was found dead in jail, The Mirror UK reported.

These services are run by many people around the world and the authorities are not merely aiming to check their actions but also to put the culprits behind the bars. However, this operation is a big step towards curbing the dark market and has been termed one of the most crucial operations ever taken against dark-web criminals.

FBI Director, Andrew McCabe said it was a ‘landmark’ operation and according to Rob Wainwright, Europol executive it was a new hit to drug traffickers and other serious criminals around the world, Europol wrote on their website.

More about the operation that took down 'AlphaBay' and 'Hansa'

The early death of ‘AlphaBay’ and later removal of ‘Hansa’ was pre-planned. Even after taking down Hansa, the authorities operated the site as usual, noting down the activities of the users and most of ‘AlphaBay’ users. Europol said that it has gathered around 10,000 postal addresses of Hansa customers and their messages.

Though it is still unclear how the authorities were able to get the addresses of the users, neither the FBI nor Europol has answered any such question. However, the authorities fear that something new similar to these websites will soon be put up to replace these as was done after the take down of ‘Silk Road’ (another dark web website) in 2013.

What the other authorities said

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) said that there were a lot of illegal drugs being sold on these websites including heroin and fentanyl and no age-group was spared from its ill-effects.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that this was one of the most important criminal investigations of the year, grounding the largest Dark Net marketplace in history. He added that no one can hide behind the dark web and that the criminals will be prosecuted.

Europol said that this will lead to hundreds of new investigations in Europe.

Andrew McCabe said that removing top criminals is not a permanent fix, as there are always new players waiting to rise to power.