WASHINGTON, D.C. — At a press conference today, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the takedown of one of the Dark Web’s largest illegal drug vendors: AlphaBay. According to a staff member, AlphaBay claimed to service more than 40,000 illegal vendors and 200,000 customers.
The Dark Web is a collection of hidden websites that masks users identities and locations. It is the source of many black market activities, including the traffic of opioid drugs.
“Drug addiction is causing more and more crime and violence in communities across our country,” Sessions said. “And while law enforcement, first responders, and medical professionals across this country have been doing their part to stop this crisis from growing, drug traffickers and others have chosen to exploit this epidemic of addiction.”
According to the Justice Department, AlphaBay contained more than 250,000 listings for illegal drugs and toxic chemicals at the time of the takedown. The same report shows that 122 vendors advertised fentanyl and 238 advertised heroin.
Over the past several years, the Opioid Epidemic has taken the U.S. and Alabama by storm. Between 2006 and 2015, 5,128 Alabamians died from prescription painkiller overdoses. According to the most recent data, Alabama outpaced every other state in the number of opioid perceptions written in 2015 with 5.8 million. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the Yellowhammer State’s per capita ratio for opioid prescriptions is 1.2 prescriptions per person, which is higher than the national average of 0.71.
“The ability of these drugs to so instantaneously end promising lives is a reminder to us all of just how incredibly dangerous these synthetic opioids are — especially when they are purchased anonymously from the darkest places on the internet,” Sessions said.
At the end of his conference, Sessions called the AlphaBay case “one of the most important criminal cases of the year.” He hopes that the public bust of the Dark Web site will send a strong message to those illegally trafficking drugs online.
“You cannot hide,” Sessions said. “We will find you, dismantle your organization and network. And we will prosecute you.”