Dread Pirate Rogers The Founder Of Silk Road Arrested In San Francisco
The anonymous underground marketplace, Silk Road, launched it’s online website in February 2011. It was sometimes called the “Amazon.com of illegal drugs” and other illicit activities.
The Underworld market website used the anonymizing web tool known as ‘Tor’ to protect the identities of it’s many buyers, sellers and the site’s administrators. Payment was made using bitcoin the anonymous purchasing system, allowing buyers a relative amount of protection.
Silk Road ran successfully for two and a half years but was shut down in a FBI sting operation in October 2013. The alleged founder of the site, 29-year-old Ross William Ulbricht, aka ‘Dread Pirate Rogers’ is in a heated trial with bail being denied by the judge.
Latest Updates From The FBI Arrest
The FBI released several statements reporting they have arrested the notorious underworld guru of the black market’s leading illegal distribution website known as Silk Road. ‘Dread Pirate Roberts was arrested in San Francisco and he went without incident official said.
The FBI caught the man accused of creating Silk Road, the shadowy e-commerce site it describes as “the most advanced and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet today,” after he allegedly posted his Gmail address online, according to court documents.
Federal agents swooped on Ross William Ulbricht in San Francisco Tuesday afternoon, charging the 29-year-old American with narcotics trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering. They allege he is “the Dread Pirate Roberts,” the Silk Road’s mysterious founder, who drew his pseudonym from the feared, fictitious character in the film The Princess Bride.
The Amazon.com Of The Dark Markets
The FBI claims the former physics and engineering student even publicly alluded to his alleged criminal enterprise since leaving grad school at Pennsylvania State University., some reports say.
The site “sought to make conducting illegal transactions on the Internet as easy and carefree as shopping online at mainstream e-commerce websites,” and carried listings for hard drugs, hackers, counterfeit cash, forged ID documents, firearms, ammunition, even hit men, one of whom Ulbricht is alleged to have enlisted to hire to kill a site user who was blackmailing him.
According to the indictment, Silk Road had acquired nearly a million registered users worldwide, about 30% of whom were based in the U.S. In its two and a half years of operation Silk Road’s turnover was worth about $1.2 billion in sales, and $80 million in commissions for the online underground guru Dread Pirate Rogers.
The indictment said the site had generated over 9.5 million bitcoins in sales revenue and over 600,000 bitcoins in commissions for its owner, allowing the site to employ a team of experienced administrators. The value of bitcoins has fluctuated dramatically since the digital currency was create, it plummeted after Ulbricht’s arrest.
Arrested While In A San Francisco. Internet Café Online Using Gmail
While Dread Pirate Roberts used a “virtual private network,” or VPN, to create a “false” IP address, the VPN server’s records indicated a user had accessed it from a San Francisco Internet café near the home of a friend Ulbricht had gone to live with around September last year.
Records obtained from Google showed Ulbricht had regularly logged into his Gmail account from the Internet café, he said, including on the same day in June that the VPN was accessed.
In July, Ulbricht was visited in San Francisco by Homeland Security agents who had intercepted a package from Canada containing fake ID documents in nine different names, each bearing a photograph of Ulbricht.
According to the indictment, Ulbricht, whose roommates knew him as “Josh,” and said he was always at home on his computer. He refused to answer anymore question or offer any comments.
Ulbricht Ordered A Murder By Contract Using A Hit For Hire
It was not the only time Ulbricht is alleged to have used the site to procure illegal services. In March, Dread Pirate Roberts solicited the killing of a Silk Road user who was attempting to blackmail him by threatening to release the identities of thousands of users of the site.
The FBI alleges that the Canada-based extortionist, known as FriendlyChemist, demanded $500,000 to prevent the release of the information, prompting Dread Pirate Roberts to contact another user and order a hit on FriendlyChemist.
“In my eyes, FriendlyChemist is a liability and I wouldn’t mind if he was executed,” he is alleged to have written, before attempting to haggle down the price. “Don’t want to be a pain here, but the price seems high. Not long ago, I had a clean hit done for $80k.”
The FBI claims the hit man later sent a picture of the victim after the job was done, for about $150,000 in bitcoins — Canadian authorities had no record of a Canadian resident with the name passed to the alleged hit man, nor any record of a homicide around that place and time. Ulbricht’s lawyer, Brandon Leblanc, declined to comment on the case.
Silk Road’s closure is unlikely to bring an end to the trade of illegal goods on the “dark web,” as similar sites use on the Tor network. I have an eye on this story, so look for more in upcoming issues of STAMINA.