Millions of dollars in cryptocurrency and assets have been seized by U.S. authorities from the estate of Alexandre Cazes, a dark web entrepreneur believed to have been the brains behind the now-defunct AlphaBay marketplace.
After arresting Cazes at his lavish home in Bangkok in 2017, authorities have this week been given the go-ahead to seize his net assets under civil forfeiture laws, in an amount that could total as much as $23 million.
Amongst his reported holdings are numerous high-end luxury beachside properties, expensive sports cars (including the obligatory Lamborghini), and millions in cash and cryptocurrency holdings linked to Cazes.
Authorities seeking the Canadian national’s extradition to the United States smashed a vehicle through the gates of Cazes’ mansion in Thailand, in a raid that saw the 26-year-old entrepreneur remanded to a prison in the Asian country. However, within a matter of days, Cazes committed suicide in his prison cell, before the matter could be brought to trial.
The Sept. 6 ruling from a court in Fresno, California, means authorities can now seize assets from his estate, at a time when authorities are cracking down more aggressively on those found to have been involved in running marketplaces on the dark web.
Dark web marketplaces like AlphaBay and Hansa were made possible by payments through cryptocurrencies, with authorities saying BTC was by far the cryptocurrency of choice for criminals and terrorists using their platforms. With both AlphaBay and Hansa now offline, law enforcement agencies in the U.S. are being kept increasingly busy in pursuing both the operators and vendors from these platforms.
Given the truly global nature of these operations, it looks like law enforcement officers have a significant job on their hands to bring charges against all those involved.
Despite their best efforts, several other clones have sprung up in recent months, seemingly undeterred by the increasing intensity of law enforcement activity around these illegal marketplaces.
Several other cases are currently making their way through the California courts, including charges against a handful of AlphaBay vendors, as well as several Localbitcoins dealers reported to have been involved in transactions with darknet dealers.
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