An online black market website used by ‘several thousand drug dealers’ has been shut down, the FBI has said.
Silk Road was taken offline after the underground site’s alleged owner, Ross William Ulbricht, 29, was arrested at a public library in San Francisco on Tuesday.
Federal authorities said Wednesday they had seized a website that was considered one of the most popular places on the Internet for buying drugs and other illicit goods and services.
In a criminal complaint, the FBI said they had charged Ross William Ulbricht, also known as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” with operating the site, known the “Silk Road,” since 2011.
Authorities said the Silk Road provided an online platform for drug dealers around the world to anonymously sell narcotics — including heroin, LSD and cocaine. The Silk Road was also a “sprawling black market bazaar” for buying and selling other illegal activities, including malicious software used for computer hacking, authorities said.
- Ulbricht, also known as Dread Pirate Roberts, has been charged with conspiracy to traffic drugs, computer hacking and money laundering.
- ‘Silk Road has emerged as the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet today,’ said FBI agent Christopher Tarbell.
- He added the site was used by thousands of drug dealers to sell ‘hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs’.
- Launched in February 2011, the web marketplace has been described as the ‘eBay of illegal drugs’, allowing users to purchase illegal substances anonymously.
- The site also offered tutorials on hacking ATM machines, contact lists for black market connections and counterfeiters, and guns and hit men for sale, according to the charges.
- Authorities also seized $3.6million (£2.2m) worth of virtual currency Bitcoin, which was used instead of cash or credit cards to complete transactions on Silk Road.
- Bitcoins, which have been around since 2008, first came under scrutiny by law enforcement officials in mid-2011 after media reports surfaced linking the digital currency to Silk Road.
In 2011, Sen. Charles Schumer called the site “a certifiable one-stop shop for illegal drugs that represents the most brazen attempt to peddle drugs online that we have ever seen. “Literally, it allows buyers and users to sell illegal drugs online, including heroin, cocaine, and meth, and users do sell by hiding their identities through a program that makes them virtually untraceable,” Schumer said at a news conference Sunday. “It’s a certifiable one-stop shop for illegal drugs that represents the most brazen attempt to peddle drugs online that we have ever seen. It’s more brazen than anything else by lightyears.”
Even more amazing, said Schumer, is that users rate their delivery performance and the quality of the drug on the site.
The website uses a complex Internet configuration that allows the users to remain anonymous and untraceable by downloading the program TOR. Users can then log on to the site and hide their IP addresses so that neither the buyer nor the seller knows who they’re dealing with.
To make sure the money exchanged can’t be traced, the site uses a new digital currency called Bitcoins that can be purchased online by visitors, according to Schumer. Using real money, users purchase these Bitcoins, which can be traded at roughly $9 to one bitcoin, and use them as proxy for real money when they buy things on Silk Road.
“It’s an online form of money laundering used to disguise the source of money, and to disguise who’s both selling and buying the drug,” said Schumer.
Authorities have charged Ulbricht with narcotics trafficking, money laundering and computer hacking. The Silk Road website has now been replaced by a banner that says the site has been seized by the FBI, DEA, IRS Criminal Division and ICE Homeland Security Investigations, authorities said in their complaint.
Shocking but true Ross William Ulbricht was profiled on Forbes’ website see post by Andy Greenberg. and in an Interview With A Digital Drug Lord: The Silk Road’s Dread Pirate Roberts gives an interview states: “Up until now I’ve done my best to keep Silk Road as low profile as possible … letting people discover it through word of mouth,” Roberts says. “At the same time, Silk Road has been around two and a half years. We’ve withstood a lot, and it’s not like our enemies are unaware any longer.” follow the The Collected Quotations Of The Dread Pirate Roberts.
Well ultimately there is a “dark site of the Internet ” What I find that major institutions working with innocent children and women in developing countries are not addressing the dark side of the Internet and many of these global issues when pushing devices and computers in the hands of children – without fully addressing the dark side of the Internet and web.