Silk Road Shut Down, Murder For Hire Plot Alleged

After the Silk Road shut down and dramatic drop in Bitcoin value, an alleged murder for hire plot has been detailed by Federal prosecutors in the deepening story.

The Silk Road shut down latest comes from tech news blog Ars Technica, and the details are both grim and nearly like something out of a movie about cyber criminals.

According to Ars, alleged Silk Road drug empire “kingpin” Ross William Ulbricht took out a hit on an associate over a $27,000 drug deal gone bad. The site cites a “superseding indictment filed in federal court in Maryland,” alleging that the man on whom the contract was taken out had been suspected of stealing by other Silk Road associates.

Ulbricht, operating under the handle “Dread Pirate Roberts,” is said to have requested a beating shakedown be upgraded to a murder over the alleged stolen Bitcoin trove. Ars quotes the Silk Road kingpin as allegedly saying:

“Can you change the order to execute rather than torture?… now that he’s been arrested, I’m afraid he’ll give up info.”

Saying he’d “never killed before,” Ulbricht allegedly paid $40,000 for the Silk Road hit, with another $40,000 promised when the dead was done. On March 1, an image staging the murder scene and appearing to show the former Silk Road associate dead after being tortured was forwarded to Dread Pirate Roberts — who sent the second payment and allegedly said:

“I’m pissed I had to kill him… but what’s done is done… I just can’t believe he was so stupid. I just wish more people had some integrity.”

The Silk Road shut down and murder for hire allegations are not the only things Ulbricht faces legally — a second alleged killing request is said to have been made not long after the first allegation. Another Silk Road user who is believed to have attempted to extort Dread Pirate Roberts was the target, and Ulbricht is quoted by Ars as allegedly saying:

“This kind of behavior is unforgivable to me… Especially here on Silk Road, anonymity is sacrosanct… [The hit] doesn’t have to be clean.”

As the Silk Road shut down story is reported, the fate of the second purported “victim” is not clear — but police say that no murders were reported in the area in which the user was known to live around the time the hit was ordered. Dread Pirate Roberts will appear in court tomorrow.