Silk Road 2 has now been shut down and totally seized by the FBI in a major drug ring bust about one year after the original Silk Road was shut down in the same way. The online marketplace was a place that offered up anonymous gun and drug sales before it was closed down, and now its successor has received the same treatment.
According to Wired, Silk Road 2 was taken down by the FBI, Europol, and the Department of Homeland Security. At the same time, Blake Benthall, its alleged 26-year-old owner and creator, was arrested in San Francisco.
The arrest of Benthall and Silk Road 2 shutdown was first noted on the FBI’s Twitter.
Operator of Silk Road 2.0, Blake Benthall, arrested yesterday by FBI agents in San Francisco, CA
— FBI New York (@NewYorkFBI) November 6, 2014
Benthall has been accused of running the new Silk Road under the handle of “Defcon,” and he’s facing charges of narcotics trafficking along with conspiracy charges related to computer hacking and money laundering. That’s not even counting his charges for trafficking in fraudulent identification documents.
According to reports from the Silk Road 2 bust, Benthall allegedly helped the selling of hundreds of kilograms of drugs of all types to hundreds of thousands buyers all around the globe. At the time of the site’s seizure, there were bitcoin-based sales adding up to more than $8 million a month.
“Let’s be clear – this Silk Road, in whatever form, is the road to prison,” Manhattan U.S. attorney Preet Bharara wrote in a statement to the press. “Those looking to follow in the footsteps of alleged cyber-criminals should understand that we will return as many times as necessary to shut down noxious online criminal bazaars. We don’t get tired.”
TechCrunch reported that Benthall’s charges could end up landing him life in prison or at least somewhere between 25-30 years in prison.
Benthall had a Facebook page that listed him as a software engineer at SpaceX, but the company has said he is no longer associated with the firm. Benthall also has a Twitter profile that listed him as a “rocket scientist” and a “Bitcoin dreamer.”
It is believed that Silk Road 2 was not just a copy of the original, but that Benthall was a co-conspirator of “Dread Pirate Roberts” who found the first one too. It is believed that Benthall took over this past December and began running things at record levels.
Obviously, Benthall was not anticipating an undercover FBI agent to infiltrate Silk Road 2. Anonymity ended up being both the success and downfall of the black market website.
[Image via Engadget]