Hidden Drug Site ‘Silk Road’ Seized by FBI

| by Courtney Nunes

U.S. law enforcement officials have shut down the website Silk Road and arrested the man who claims he is the site’s founder.

Silk Road was a website that allowed users to anonymously browse and purchase illegal drugs online using anonymous digital currency known as Bitcoins. Site users were able to make purchases through Tor, an anonymizing browser that distributes Internet traffic around the world so it cannot be traced back to the user.

Ross Ulbricht, 29, who operated under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Rogers, was arrested as head of the site.

In addition to arresting Ulbricht, the FBI seized more than $3.6 million in Bitcoins. According to Time, this is the second largest seizure of the digital currency to date.

The FBI complaint estimates that Silk Road has generated 9.5 million Bitcoins in drug transactions, which adds up to approximately $1.2 billion in total sales.

Federal prosecutors in New York charged Ulbricht with narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy, Time reported.

A March 2013 criminal complaint also alleges that Ulbricht hired a hit man to murder a Silk Road customer. According to authorities, Ulbricht hired site user “redandwhite” to murder another user “FriendlyChemist,” after FriendlyChemist began sending emails to Ulbricht threatening to publish the identities of Silk Road customers unless he received $500,000.

There is no record of Ulbricht actually killing anybody, Business Insider reported. But the FBI stated that the exchange demonstrated his “intention to solicit a murder-for-hire.”

Sources: Business Insider (2), Time