What you need to know about the Dark Web

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Technology explained What is the dark web

What those dark web users didn't-and couldn't-know: That chaos was planned. "We recorded an eight times increase in the number of human users on Hansa immediately following the takedown of AlphaBay". When new users signed up, they received an e-mail from AlphaBay welcoming them to the site.

The website allegedly trafficked in illegal drugs, stolen documents, counterfeit goods and "other computer hacking tools, firearms, and toxic chemicals throughout the world", according to the Justice Department. While Alpabay's closure had previously been reported as an Federal Bureau of Investigation operation, the agency has now confirmed that takedown, while Europol also revealed details of its tightly coordinated Hansa takeover.

Hansa Market was the most popular dark market on the "anonymous" part of the internet, or dark net, police said in a statement.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, "The ability of these drugs to so instantaneously end these promising lives is reminder to us of just how incredibly unsafe these synthetic opioids are, especially when purchased anonymously from dark spaces on internet, and this is likely one of the most important criminal investigations of this entire year".

He reportedly committed suicide while in custody, according to the Department of Justice. "We will find you, dismantle your organization and network, and we will prosecute you", Sessions said in a warning to darknet entrepreneurs. "We take no responsibility if you get caught, so protecting yourself is your responsibility".

"Some of the intelligence extracted contains relevant information regarding the destination of drugs", Europol says, "and is meant to inform the relevant countries about planned shipments of drugs".

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On July 5, the Canadian national who ran AlphaBay, Alexandre Cazes, was arrested in Thailand. He was awaiting extradition to the USA when, on July 12, he was found hanged in his jail cell, reported the Bangkok Post. Together, they managed to covertly take control of Hansa a month ago, and monitor what illegal activities were going on there. Though it's very hard to trace users on the dark web, on the markets buyers regularly use their own addresses when making a purchase. Cazes used the email address Pimp_Alex_91@hotmail.com.

"They coordinated a takedown and have punched a big hole in the operating ability of drug traffickers and other serious criminals around the world", Europol director Rob Wainwright said. In addition, Dutch police have passed 10,000 non-Dutch mailing addresses tied to Hansa market buyers to Europol. Seizure notices then appeared on the homepages of both AlphaBay and Hansa.

Law enforcement leaders called security practices of Cazes sloppy, which led to his arrest. "What we have seen in the past is that people move around".

"This operation is an example of the improving concerted ability of law enforcement to strike against criminals, even on the dark net", he said. "Looks like I'll be sober for a while".

As users are starting to congregate on Reddit to discover what is happening, Europol has released a confirmation of the market's downfall.

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