It’s no news that the dark web is full of shady stuff, including a worrying amount of websites that claim to offer murder as a cheap service. Authorities arrested five men this week who they believe operated one of the web’s most notorious hitman sites. Besa Mafia claimed that, for a bit of crypto, a customer could hire a thug to take someone out.
In a Wednesday Press releaseofficials from the Romanian Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) announced the arrest of five men suspected of being the administrators of the site formerly known like Besa Mafia. Alternately called “Camorra Hitman” and “#1 Hitman Marketplace”, Besa has been offering for a long time to connect paying dark web customers to skilled hitmen.
In his Release, DIICOT said he caught the men at the request of the US government. “Legal authorities in the United States of America are targeting the work of an organized crime group that operated websites that posted offers of contract killings,” DIICOT said. The identities of those arrested have not been made public at this time.
Experts believe that almost all hitman sites are scams, designed to extract money from bloodthirsty patrons who think they can order an assassin with Bitcoin like a normal person might DoorDash a burrito. “Besa” is no exception. Dark web researchers have long called the site a fraud, alleging it is purely a way to steal crypto from idiots but murderers Tor users.
However, if it is a fraud, it is certainly a fairly profitable fraud. The site is said to have generated tons of money, attracting thousands of customers with its offers to provide a variety of gruesome services – not just executions, but also beatings and torture.
“If you want to kill someone, or kick their ass, we’re the right guys”, the site once read. “We have professional hitmen available throughout the United States, Canada and Europe and you can easily hire a hitman.”
The price of these macabre but bogus services is between $5,000 and $20,000, in Bitcoin, Motherboard Reports. Disturbingly, tons of people have fallen for the scam and even shelled out money in hopes of arranging a murder.
Some people who contacted Besa to arrange a murder were eventually charged with murder. Indeed, a data leak website in 2016 allowed a researcher to view the site’s “kill list”, apparently the people users wished ill. Motherboard reports that at least a few people on this list ended up becoming actual murder victims. However, the people who killed them were not contract killers, but the people who initially contacted “Besa Mafia” about its “services”.