A Canadian co-founder of one of the world’s biggest marketplaces, Alexander Cazes, on the Dark Web has been found hanged in a jail cell in Bangkok, Thailand this week.
He was found dead one week after an online threat posted on the subreddit r/AlphaBay threatened his life. The threat said that Cazes and the other AlphaBay admins would feel the "full force of the hacker community" if he did not make amends to users by July 15…and now that that day has come Cazes is dead.
Authorities in Thailand made the announcement on Friday and disclosed that the body of 26-year-old Alexander Cazes, co-founder of Alpha Bay, was discovered in his cell at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau headquarters on Wednesday after his arrest earlier this week.
A police officer discovered the Cazes body after noticing that a towel was left hanging on a toilet door. The death has been classified by authorities as suicide, although it is not yet clear if an autopsy had been performed on the body of Cazes. Due to the timing of the threat, there is speculation that Cazes was murdered and after the murder was hanged to cover it up.
Cazes was supposed to attend a deportation hearing soon. His death also came just a few days after U.S. authorities have shut down Alpha Bay, leaving many customers angry, speculating that the site administrators had run off with their money.
Cazes had been, for a long time, running the Dark Web site where customers can obtain illicit items from drugs to firearms over the internet. He moved to Thailand eight years ago, said to have married a Thai woman and led a luxurious lifestyle.
The computer programmer was arrested on July 5 at the request of U.S. authorities. The police seized at least four Lamborghini sports cars and three properties worth more than $12 million after Cazes’ arrest.
Experts said that aside from trading illegal drugs and firearms on the internet, Alpha Bay also served as a platform for the advertising of products and services that other underground markets banned, including stolen credit card numbers and online fraud tutorials. For the first half of 2017 alone, AlphaBay is estimated to have sold more than $5million worth of credit card information. On average, Alpha Bay garnered some $600,000 to $800,000 in sales a day, making millions in yearly profits.
The Goldwater has discovered that just a week ago before Cazes’ supposed suicide, there have been threats against him and other administrators of AlphaBay from anonymous people who claimed they have been duped of their bitcoins by Cazes and AlphaBay. He is widely regarded by those users as a large bitcoin scammer. The threats appeared on r/AlphaBay, a subreddit.
The user who made the threats claims to be very wealthy, saying that he lost $2.5 million dollars (1262.4 BTC), which would mean that contract killings, especially in South East Asian countries like Thailand where corruption is rampant, are a very real possibility.
The Reddit user, An0nym0usSec wrote a week ago, "[I lost] 1262.4 coins in my various vendor accounts. […] Alphabay, you have a week to get your servers in order or come back from the dead or you’ll have the full force of the hacker community shredding apart your platform piece by piece until we oust every admin and owner on the list. Do you accept the challenge?"
There was also a message posted that said in part: “If this is an exit scam, which I won’t assume for another week. But after that, all is fair in love and war. And believe me when I tell you Admins, every single one of you will be ousted to the cleaner, along with your bitcoin fee profits, locations, stolen bitcoin amount. I promise my team will make it our mission to inflict the same pain you inflicted on all of us.”
The anonymous users in the thread also promised to find ways for all the other ‘victims’ to recover their lost bitcoins because of the maneuverings of Alphabay.
Do the threats from a week ago on reddit.com have anything to do with the sudden and unexpected death of Cazes? The authorities in Thailand while initially announcing it was a case of suicide, have not categorically said or mentioned anything about the possibility of foul play or murder that led to Cazes’ death. No talks of autopsy and other medical examination reports have been discussed yet.
It is interesting to see how this story will unfold further and what other links and angles will emerge. Due to the online threat, The Goldwater urges Thai authorities to re-examine the evidence to assure that it was a genuine suicide and no foul play was involved.
Let’s stay tuned.