The alleged AlphaBay drug-maker on Dark Web was detected by the FBI because he was rather dumb. The illegal site administrator used his real email address (and indeed Hotmail) in the content management system he had chosen to operate the site.
This is one of the details that surprises in the case of Alexandre Cazes, 25ronus who was arrested earlier this month in Thailand as suspicious of managing the AlphaBay illegal page.
The Cazes AlphaBay website had become the largest black market on the Internet, with more than 200.000 users and 40.000 sellers. He had more than 250.000 products on his lists, which made it almost 20 times bigger than that Silk Road, which closed 2013 from the FBI.
The strangest thing, according to US prosecutors, is that the accused used his real e-mail address, a Hotmail address - [email protected] As a CMS communication email according to Motherboard. This has resulted in all new users receiving welcome messages from this address after signing up for the site or using the password reset tool.
Authorities say Alexandre Cazes - or Pimp Alex - has been using the address for years.
So it was very easy to find out that address “[email protected]"He belonged to a Canadian named Alexandre Cazes with a date of birth of October 19, 1991, corresponding to the numeric ID on his Hotmail e-mail address."
Fortunately, he did not put his VAT number.
But the stupidity does not stop here: Cazes used the same e-mail in various posts he made on forums and blogs on the Internet. He used the same nickname and the same email address….
Naturally, somebody's truly smart web page administrator could do all this to lead law enforcement authorities to the wrong digital paths.
But when the authorities invaded Cazes' house in Bangkok, Thailand, they found him logged into the AlphaBay web site as an administrator, actively communicating for problems with one of his data centers.
Let's mention that Cazes had made a lot of effort to protect himself and his illegal activities, but he did not encrypt his personal laptop.
The stupidity that has no limits
In case you have any doubts about whether Cazes did not know what he was doing, he used the same Hotmail Pimp Alex address in his own business - EBX Technologies. How did the police find out that Cazes was behind EBX Technologies? He was on his LinkedIn profile…
All this allowed the authorities to acquire 5 million dollars in Bitcoin, 2 million dollars in Ethereum, 770.000 dollars in Zcash and 474.000 dollars at Monero, which shifted to government accounts.
He did not waste anything, the police did not even have to ask for the bank accounts as Cazes had recorded them all together with his homes and his luxury cars on an exel in the unlocked and unencrypted laptop of the computer.
The authorities report
The document was marked "TOTAL NET WORTH" in bold at the top of the document. Under the title Cazes had split his winnings "into various subcategories such as Holdings of Assets and Cash Holdings"
Although his site was selling fake IDs, neither Cazes nor his wife - who with a simple social search, authorities were able to locate her at Mahidol University in Bangkok - thought of using them to hide their illicit profits.
Their real names were also used to buy real estate in Bangkok - two houses, side by side and just a seven minute drive from Mahidol University. Other houses were found in Phuket, Cyprus, Antigua and Barbuda and of course confiscated.
Several cars were also seized: a Lamborghini Aventador, a Porsche Panamera S and a Mini Cooper - all registered at the same address in Bangkok.
Although Cazes was able to obtain Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by purchasing a $ 400.000 property there, he was unable to use it. Police found and confiscated their passports at home. Authorities also discovered that he was in the process of acquiring citizenship from Cyprus by investing more than 2m euros in real estate there. He has even sent money from Thailand through Liechtenstein to Cyprus in an attempt to hide…
Too late. His identity was already evident thanks to his Hotmail address. He lived in a house he had in his own name.
Just a week after capture of Cazes and his imprisonment in Thailand, he was found dead in his cell. Authorities say it was suicide.