This was the really clever part, they gained control over the Hansa servers on June 20th, then pulled AlphaBay offline on July 5th. As everyone flocked to Hansa, the amount of intelligence the security forces could collect skyrocketed. Setting up a trap and then driving users into it, clever.
By highlighting this the security forces are actively trying to create mythologies about how darknet markets represent great dangers for users. This is unfortunate as DNM represent one of the great advances in harm reduction for drug users, and reduce the need for violence by vendors. Darknet markets create a non violence based mechanism for resolving disputes (reviews and remediation); they remove the need for controlling territory (brand awareness and reputation are what matter, not location)… Dark net markets absolutely reduce the violence associated with the drug trade and help reduce harm to drug addicts. These police actions are so misguided they will be viewed with horror by future generations. One can only hope for sanity and the end of the drug war.
Another link, including the complaints: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/alphabay-largest-online-dark-market-shut-down
“what made this operation really special was the strategy developed by the FBI, DEA, the Dutch Police and Europol to magnify the disruptive impact of the joint action to take out AlphaBay and Hansa. This involved taking covert control of Hansa under Dutch judicial authority a month ago, which allowed Dutch police to monitor the activity of users without their knowledge, and then shutting down AlphaBay during the same period. It meant the Dutch police could identify and disrupt the regular criminal activity on Hansa but then also sweep up all those new users displaced from AlphaBay who were looking for a new trading platform. In fact they flocked to Hansa in their droves, with an eight-fold increase in the number of new members of Hansa recorded immediately following the shutdown of AlphaBay. As a law enforcement strategy, leveraging the combined operational and technical strengths of multiple agencies in the US and Europe, it has been an extraordinary success”