Earlier today, the FBI successfully shut down the world’s most popular online drug marketplace, Silk Road. The website founder Ross William Ulbricht, who goes by the name “Dread Pirate Roberts” was also arrested Tuesday at 3:15pm at the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library.
For those of you who have not heard about the famous Silk Road, the popular online drug marketplace has been around for years, but has been able to operate in plain view since 2011. How is this possible? Silk Road, while was operational, was only accessible through a Tor browser, software that facilitates anonymous web browsing. Using Tor is completely legal, but comes under scrutiny when used in the for the sale of illegal goods.
In its’ past, Silk Road, was said to be a black market for more than just drugs, but murder-for-hire and illegal gun distribution. Although when seized, the website only appeared to be a drug market, with Ulbricht holding about a million dollars worth of Bitcoin. According to FBI reports, Silk Road operated from many servers across the world and the government this still trying to recover those servers. In an exclusive interview with Mashable, a former Silk Road vendor claimed to earn over 10,000 from drugs sales on the website, stating that the operation runs like a drop-shipping company, equipped with accounting systems, order management and even and way for you to pay taxes on your sales.
The FBI believes that “Dread Pirate Roberts” was not working alone although no others have been charged in this case. See the full charges and complaint here.