Hydra Co-Founder Arrested in Russia
A 30-year-old man described as the “co-founder” of Hydra, formerly the world’s biggest darknet marketplace, has been arrested in Russia per reports from the Meshchansky District Court in Moscow. The report names Dmitry Pavlov – a Russian citizen – as arrested on charges pertaining to “illegal drug trafficking on an especially large scale.” He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the charges.
The arrest, which took place on April 11th, occurred less than a week after Hydra’s servers were knocked offline in Germany as the result of a joint effort between German and US law enforcement. German police also managed to confiscate about $25 million in Bitcoin during their takedown of the market.
The US Department of Justice announced its own charges against Pavlov on April 5th, which include conspiracy to distribute narcotics and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He is also named as a Hydra admin and provider of hosting services for the now-defunct darknet market, which had been in steady operation since 2015.
Pavlov stated on April 6th that he had only been informed of the charges against him via the media, and that he had not been contacted by US authorities. He also said the server provision business he ran, in which he leased servers to other businesses, was fully-licensed and registered with Roskomanadzor, the Russian communications bureau. Pavlov also denied allegations of being a Hydra admin, claiming he did not have administration duties on any website.
“We are a hosting company and have all the necessary communications licenses,” Pavlov told BBC’s Russian service in an interview last week. “We don’t administer any sites but only provide servers for rent as intermediaries.”
Cybersecurity experts who had been investigating Hydra told The Moscow Times that Russia had been monitoring the market since its inception, and speculated that it was possible for Hydra to make a re-appearance under a different domain, hosted on different servers.