During a press briefing at the Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions revealed that president Donald Trump ordered the DOJ to go after organized international cybercrime organizations like AlphaBay. He stated:
“[Donald Trump] gave us several directives. One is to dismantle transnational criminal organizations. That is what we are announcing today. Dismantling of the largest dark website in the world by far.”
In his opening remarks, Sessions stated that the takedown is part of the battle against opioid addiction in the United States, adding that one American dies of a drug overdose every eleven minutes. He pointed out that he knew of several Americans killed by drugs sold on AlphaBay, and gave examples: “One victim was just 18 years old when, in February, she overdosed on a powerful synthetic opioid which she had bought on AlphaBay. The drug was shipped right to her house, through the mail.”
During the press briefing, Jeff Sessions pointed out that “this is likely one of the most important criminal investigations of this entire year”. He then added that darknet marketplaces and criminals aren’t safe from law enforcement, stating:
“This case, pursued by dedicated agents and prosecutors, says you are not safe. You cannot hide. We will find you, dismantle your organization and network. And we will prosecute you.”
His closing remarks added that he believes the American people are now safer from identity fraud, malware, and drugs thanks to the takedown of AlphaBay and, presumably, Hansa. Per his words, the DOJ will continue to go after darknet marketplaces.
As covered by CCN, both AlphaBay and Hansa, two of the largest darknet marketplaces, have recently been taken down by global law enforcement operations. While AlphaBay was swiftly taken down and its administrator arrested, Hansa was taken over by authorities and controlled for about a month so police could have more information on its users. Follow-up investigations and arrests are expected.