Justice Dept. Announces Takedown of Online Drug Marketplace

WASHINGTON (AP) -
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, center, accompanied by DEA Deputy Administrator Robert Patterson, left, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, second from right, and FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe, right, announcing an international cybercrime enforcement action at the Department of Justice, Thursday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Justice Department officials are announcing a takedown of an internet marketplace for illegal substances, counterfeit goods, weapons, hacking tools and other illicit items.

Prosecutors say AlphaBay had 200,000 members and 40,000 vendors before it was taken offline. They say it was the largest of many illegal marketplaces that operate in hidden corners of the internet.

The site operated on the Tor network, which helps users browse the internet anonymously. Visitors to the online marketplace paid through digital currencies such as Bitcoin. Officials say hundreds of vendors advertised illegal substances.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other federal officials announced an indictment in California on Thursday of a suspected administrator of the site, and the Justice Department filed a forfeiture complaint to seize assets connected to the operation.