Apr 22

Silk Road Undercover Agent Sent Messages To Mt. Gox CEO

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silk Road 2.0.

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fbi-laptop-sketch-300x150The undercover agent accused of stealing from the now defunct darknet site, Silk Road, sent a series of messages to the then Mt. Gox CEO, Mark Karpeles. The new information has come to light as the latest twist to the ongoing investigation into the illegal conduct of two agents who were investigating the Silk Road enterprise in order to shut it down and reveal its ownership.

The messages have been released by Mark Karpeles, former owner and CEO of Mt. Gox, a popular Bitcoin exchange website. The messages were shared over the professional network, LinkedIn.

In a message from April 2013, the agent asked Mark to add him to his professional network on LinkedIn because of his fascination with the popular cryptocurrency, bitcoin. After Mt. Gox CEO gave a reply the following day, thanking the agent and asking how he might help, the Silk Road agent sent a message saying that he wanted to explore other money-making options as the US government was due for an economic crash within five years.

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This strange message was not replied to by Mt. Gox CEO, at which point the agent asked for support on a sales deal worth about 250 bitcoins. During the time, this amount of bitcoins would have amounted to around $30,000.

However, Mark chose not to respond to this message as well. Still, about a month later, the undercover agent in the Silk Road investigation sent a message to Mt. Gox CEO with regard to the failed deal with Coinlab. In the message, the agent also expressed his intention to work with Mark by taking on the role of Mt. Gox’s representative for US and Canada.

The message, like many others before it, did not elicit a response from Mark Karpeles. About a week later, the agent posted another message; it would also be his last. The message implied that Mark made a mistake by failing to get into the previously suggested partnership with him.

Apr 20

Different Personas Of The Silk Road Ex-DEA Agent

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silk Road 2.0.

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DEA-e1427748221395-1940x1091The Justice Department has charged former DEA agent, Carl Mark Force IV, and Shaun Bridges, 32, with committing numerous instances of fraud while investigating the Silk Road. Force and Bridges, were both part of a Baltimore based task force committed to taking down the Silk Road, they are accused of money laundering and wire fraud. Carl Mark Force is also accused of stealing government property.

Carl Mark Force IV was the lead agent tasked with setting up communication with Dread Pirate Roberts, but the complaint against Force alleges that he did more than that. A Justice Department memo states that Force created additional online personas that he then used to engage in a wide range of illegal activities.

As an undercover agent, Force used the pseudonym “Nob” to develop a rapport with Dread Pirate Roberts (Ross Ulbricht, the operator of Silk Road), he convinced him through private messages on the Silk Road that he was a drug smuggler with international connections.

In the criminal complaint the authorities acknowledge that Carl Mark Force IV was “Nob”. However, it was only after Ross Ulbricht was arrested, and his Samsung 700z laptop seized, that the authorities learned how much of Force’s activity on the Silk Road hadn’t been recorded or reported to the prosecutors and his supervisors.

indexAuthorities say Clark M. Force created the online persona “French Maid”, which wasn’t known by the task force members. Force then used the pseudonym “French Maid”, to sell sensitive law-enforcement information to the Dread Pirate Roberts. Federal prosecutors say that Ross Ulbricht’s own notes show that he paid “French Maid” $100,000 worth of bitcoins in exchange for information about somebody who had given his name to the law enforcement agencies.

Under another pseudonym, “Death From Above”, Force is accused of telling Ross Ulbricht he was a Green-Beret and a close friend of Curtis Green, whose murder Ross Ulbricht allegedly believed that he had paid for. Death From Above wrote to Dread Pirate Roberts and threatened to reveal his real name if Ross Ulbricht did not pay him $250,000. A screen recording program on Carl Mark Force’s DEA computer captured a video of him writing as the Death From Above.

Additionally, Force operated illegally as the Chief Compliance Officer for a third party exchange, CoinMKT, and used his powers to run illegal background checks, fake documents and steal customer funds.

Apr 17

Alleged Silk Road 2.0 Operator Got Engaged

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silkroad 2.0.

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Blake Benthall or “Defcon”Congratulations are in order for Blake Benthall or “Defcon” as he was popularly known on Silk Road, he recently got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Stephie McKay, and the two are apparently planning to marry soon. They seemingly got engaged as of February 2015.

After being busted by undercover agents and admitting to his involvement in the Silk Road 2.0 saga, his legal status still remains unclear though he was reportedly working towards securing a deal with the prosecution.

If at all Benthall is found guilty of the Silk Road charges labeled against him and locked away, then the least a judge can give him in terms of prisoner privileges is regular conjugal visits from the wife. That way he’ll get to enjoy his marriage albeit the prison sentence handed over to him.

Alleged Silk Road 2.0 Operator Got EngagedIn November 2014, Blake Benthall was arrested for allegedly running Silk Road 2.0, an illicit drug marketplace on the darknet best known for dealing illicit drugs. It was a black market site where users can trade illicit items and services anonymously. Silkroad 2.0 was accessible through an anonymizing Tor browser and used bitcoins in transactions. Blake Benthall was arrested in San Francisco and faced charges which includes money laundering, conspiracy to commit narcotics trafficking, and computer hacking, which carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in  prison. It was alleged that the darknet site, Silkroad 2.0, was generating $8 million per month and had about 150,000 active users as of September 2014.

Apr 14

The Baltimore Silk Road Task Force

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silk Road 2.0.

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The Baltimore Silk Road Task ForceIt’s now emerging that there has been corruption at the investigative task force of Baltimore charged with handling the Silk Road. Though there have allegations on credibility of officers involved in this case, it’s only recently that credible evidence has surfaced to back up these reports. Two former federal agents overseeing the case were not actually working towards arresting the culprits, but rather abusing law enforcement privileges by colluding with some of the suspects at a fee.

The complainant is charging them with different crimes including money laundering, wire fraud, stealing of government property, and conflict of interest. The Silk Road Task Force of Baltimore was established to run parallel to the main probing team, with an aim of establishing other direct and covert communication lines with DPR.

These two feds are accused of widespread misconduct, calculated corruption and abuse of office. Even the manner in which the “pretend hit” that led to Ulbricht’s arrest was done has been questioned, of course taking into consideration that these corrupt agents were in the frontline of it all.

Something that has been called as a calculated and concerted case of corruption, rather than “opportunism” as most member of the public are meant to believe. The officials were laundering money using accounts set up in far-flung areas such as Panama, all in a bid to escape prying eyes from local anti-fraud authorities. But their days were numbered and they have now been cornered, each one of them is facing serious crimes charges that could eventually lead to imprisonment.

The Baltimore Silk Road Task Force1They made away with an estimated $1 million worth of bitcoin currency and hard cash through their fake wire transfers. But one of the former agents, Carl Force, was not wise enough and went on a huge spending spree. Immediately after the heist, he paid his home mortgage in full, repaid a government loan, invested in real estate and opened E-Trade accounts all within a short duration of time. People around him started to grow suspicious about where he got all the money from, they reported the matter to anti-corruption authorities who launched further investigations. The fraudulent DEA’s bank account was traced and found to be holding huge sums of unexplained financial resources, after a small scrutiny it was finally concluded that his ill-gotten wealth was due to mishandling the Silk Road case. Another thing that gave him out is using fake ID documents to register with the Bitstamp virtual currency exchange platform, his application was rejected even though he claimed it was his “undercover identity”.

Apr 09

New Silk Road Documents Unsealed, New Revelations

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silkroad 2.0.

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New Silk Road Documents Unsealed, New RevelationsA new plain text document containing 122 pages of Mr. Ulbricht’s Silkroad case was released to the courts. In relation to these new developments, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is currently pleading to Judge Katherine Forrest that corrupt Baltimore investigations which were used to prosecute Ross are unreliable, since those mandated with conducting preliminary investigations displayed corrupt behavior throughout the process. The Silkroad hearing was previously halted due to ongoing inquiries on Carl Mark Force (IV), but this document is likely to bring all attention back to the original case.

The pages mainly represent information pertaining to crooked agents. These documents were only unsealed for public scrutiny after the Silkroad agents were arrested, they would be presented in court at a later date to answer the charges that have been brought against them.

According to authorities in the judiciary, SA Force is currently being probed by the USAO-San Francisco for alleged misconduct as a DEA undercover agent in the darknet market Silkroad investigation. Usually, when detectives tamper with evidence even in a small way, then doubt would be cast over the entire process used to bring charges forward.

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Whether this suspicion is liable or not shall be determined by a jury before Ulbricht’s trial is relooked again, lawyers have hinted that the accused can use this opportunity to seek a much lighter sentence than what he’s currently facing. All along, prosecutors have been painting the Silkroad founder as a dangerous murder-for-hire drug kingpin. But the defense is confident that these Silkroad charges have been framed up and are a far cry from the truth, something they hope would soon be revealed in the dossier that has just been submitted to judges concerned. The extract is comprehensive and mentions specific conversations between the agents, including how they colluded to set up Mr. Ulbricht right from the start. However, there’s still much more information yet to be disclosed about the Silkroad case.

Apr 07

Will The Arrest Of The Ex-Feds Help Ulbricht’s Case?

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silk Road 2.0.

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Will The Arrest Of The Ex-Feds Help Ulbricht’s CaseCarl Force, a former Drug Enforcement agent, and Shaun Bridges, a former Secret Service agent, who helped the government shut down the online drug marketplace Silk Road have been charged with stealing Bitcoins from the darknet market during the course of the investigation. However, the criminal complaint filed against the two federal agents is definitely not the Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card that the convicted Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s defense is looking for even though the voluminous accusations are disturbing.

However, this can torpedo the murder-for-hire and make it far more complicated. Further, this good news/bad news situation could disturb the sleep of several unidentified drug dealers on the Silk Road. This is because the fed is likely to track bitcoins much more seriously than before as a result of the charges filed against Force and Bridges. Unfortunately, the case would not either help start a new trial or affect the murder-for-hire charge against Ross Ulbricht in any manner whatsoever for the following reasons:

The prosecution has already convinced the judge that the behavior of Force was not exculpatory to the defense. Therefore, the argument that Force made an attempt to frame Ulbricht becomes irrelevant.

The arrest of the feds is not something out of the blue; it was a development that was already under consideration.

Will The Arrest Of The Ex-Feds Help Ulbricht’s Case1In the New York investigations, Force was not involved. While the investigation at New York was focused on identifying the server and technical analyses, the focus of the Maryland case was infiltration into Silk Road. The two teams were not on speaking terms.

The prosecution in New York did not bring up the references to the murder-for-hire case in order to show criminal intent because of double jeopardy concerns.

In simple terms, accusation by the defendant that another person other than him/her has also committed a crime does not hold ground in the absence of any evidence of connection between the crime and the perpetrators. Further, the context is also important.

Apr 03

Bitcoin Entrepreneur Begins His 2-Year Sentence

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silkroad 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silkroad 2.0.

>> Click here to find the best alternative: Agora Marketplace <<

Bitcoin Entrepreneur Begins His 2-Year SentenceBitinstant CEO and founding board member of the Bitcoin Foundation, Charlie Shrem began his stint in prison on March 30th 2015 having been sentenced on 19th December 2014 to 2 years in prison. Shrem had pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of aiding and abetting the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business.

Charlie Shrem, 25 will serve his time at USP Lewisburg in Pennsylvania. It’s a high security federal prison, but Shrem will be in the minimum security satellite camp.

Shrem was arrested at JFK Airport on January 26 2014, while returning to the United States, after attending a convention in Amsterdam. Shrem along with Robert M. Faiella were accused of selling more than $1 million in bitcoins in a money laundering scheme that involved users of Silkroad – the notorious online black market that was ultimately shut down. Shrem was also accused of wilfully failing to file suspicious activity and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

Charlie Shrem used his Bitcoin exchange, Bitstant, to transfer money deposited in bank accounts by clients of the Silkroad.

Shrem’s co-defendant, Robert Faiella, was sentenced to four years in prison in January 2015 after he pleaded guilty to operating an illegal money transmission business. Faiella had been operating a bitcoin exchange on the Silkroad website.

Bitcoin Entrepreneur Begins His 2-Year Sentence1According to court documents, between December 2011 and October 2013 when Silkroad was seized by federal agents, Faiella, operating under the user name BTCking on the Silkroad website, allegedly obtained Bitcoins through BitInstant, and then sold them at a profit to drug sellers and buyers on the Silkroad website. Bitcoin was the only form of currency that was used on the Silkroad website to buy drugs and other paraphernalia that were marketed through Silkroad.

Shrem hopes that he’ll only have to serve 9 or 10 months of his 2-year prison sentence. During his stay at the Lewisburg Federal Prison Camp, he’ll share a cell with 2 or 3 inmates. Shrem will be able to stay in contact with the outside world through e-mail, and has requested that people send him messages during his prison time. Additionally, Charlie asked for people to send him magazines and books, letters and articles. He is also encouraging the bitcoin community to send him money that he plans to use to pay for food, e-mail and stamps, phone access and other items.

Apr 01

Silk Road Undercover Agents Accused Of Stealing Bitcoin

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silk Road 2.0.

>> Click here to find the best alternative: Agora Marketplace <<

Silk Road Undercover Agents Accused Of Stealing BitcoinTwo former federal agents have recently been charged with the crime of stealing over $800,000 worth of bitcoin from the defunct online black marketplace Silk Road while carrying out their duties. These two were special agents working with the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force, which led the investigations that culminated in the 2013 shutdown of this darknet website, along with the arrest of Ross Ulbricht aka Dread Pirates Roberts, the man who was recently convicted of running Silk Road.

Shaun Bridges, formerly of the US Secret Service is accused of taking $800,000 worth of bitcoins via an account he gained control of during the investigations carried out on this online black marketplace. He is alleged to have transferred the funds to his own personal account while working as a computer forensics expert in the investigation. The DOJ complaint made against him claims that he utilized the special access he obtained by spearheading the arrest of Curtis Green; one the administrator of Silk Road who used the alias “Flush”. The complaint asserts that Bridges or someone who worked in his place used the information on Flush’s account together with another one that wasn’t specified to steal 20,000 bitcoins worth $350,000.

Silk Road Undercover Agents Accused Of Stealing Bitcoin1Carl Force formerly of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and who was the lead undercover agent in the investigation is also accused with the same charges. Force was given the responsibility of initiating communications with Dread Pirates Roberts, the Silk Road administrator, but is alleged to have used this privilege for his own personal motives. He is accused of selling DPR information on the ongoing investigation, using the unauthorized alias of “French Maid” for which he was paid $100,000 while at the same time he made use of his authorized alias of “Nob” to get a total 925 bitcoins worth $90,000 paid in two installments in exchange for information. Nob posed as a drug smuggler operating in the US claiming to possess extensive criminal connections across the globe. However, according to Force’s official statement he claimed he did not receive any money from DPR.

He is also accused of investing and also working for an online bitcoin exchange firm, CoinMKT, where he is alleged to have used his clout as a DEA agent to assist this firm to conduct criminal checks on their clients. Which ultimately enabled him to freeze one client’s account, the proceeds from which he transferred to his own personal account. Force is also accused of sending an unlawful DOJ subpoena to an online payment firm containing a request to unfreeze his own personal account.

All in all, according to the DOJ complaint, Shaun Bridges faces charges of fraud and money laundering. Carl Force faces similar charges in addition to stealing government property as well as conflict of interest. The laptop confiscated from Ross Ulbricht and containing evidence that was used against him in his trial, is also said to have evidence that will be used against these two former federal agents. This includes details on chats they had with Silk Road administrator, Dread Pirates Roberts (Ulbricht), along with others that can prove invaluable in their eventual conviction.

Mar 31

The Deep Web Drug Lab

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silkroad 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silkroad 2.0.

>> Click here to find the best alternative: Agora Marketplace <<

The Deep Web Drug Lab1Silkroad was a pioneering influence in the growth of the illegal darknet sites. However, in an anonymous market ecosystem where sellers have no obligation to exercise any accountability, many darknet users buying illegal drugs can end up buying substandard products. However, DoctorX’s lab has established itself as a deep web regulator that has been offering legitimate information on the purity of drugs bought on the darknet since the Silkroad days.

DoctorX’s lab does free voluntary testing on drugs bought over the darknet, although Bitcoin donations are accepted from beneficiaries and supporters of this important service. Dr. Fernando Caudevilla is man behind the DoctorX operation. He takes on the role of DoctorX after coming home from his day job as a regular family doctor.

His services have earned him a lot of respect in the darknet. DoctorX has provided answers to over a thousand questions on the original Silkroad, Silkroad 2.0, and The Hub forums. The doctor also offers advice to users through his blog.

Silkroad and Silkroad 2.0DoctorX’s lab services may have become famous because of Silkroad and Silkroad 2.0, marketplaces that have since being taken down, but his place as a darknet consultant is assured. Some of the drugs samples send to him to test include cocaine, speed, ketamine, and so forth. In addition to determining the purity levels in the drugs, DoctorX also tries to identify any adulterants that may have been introduced into the drugs, all with the goal of giving individuals objective and scientific information they need to make their own decisions with liberty and responsibility.

Mar 30

Significant Facts In The Life Of Dread Pirate Roberts

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silk Road 2.0.

>> Click here to find the best alternative: Agora Marketplace <<

Significant Facts In The Life Of Dread Pirate RobertsRoss Ulbricht was born on March 27th 1984 in Austin, Texas to parents Kirk and Lynn Ulbricht. He also has an older sister Cally who is ahead of him by 5yrs. The 30 yr. old self-confessed scientist and web programmer graduated high school at the age of 18 from West Lake High School, by which time he was already fashioning himself as a future philosopher and “liberator” of the people.

In a short video clip that was posted on YouTube April 12, 2007, he sent a chilling response to the then-presidential contestant Mitt Romney who was asking what America’s greatest predicament was. Ross Ulbricht replied by saying that getting the country out of UN is the only solution. Later on, Ulbricht posted a Facebook page where he outlined his thoughts as to what exactly constitutes freedom. He urged readers to create a world where all inhabitants, and their future generations can be freer than those who lived before them.

Three years later in 2010, Ross opened his own personal bookstore called Goodwagon Books in his native town Austin, TX. At the same time, he also built a makeshift DIY “shroomery” for growing hallucinogenic fungi inside a remote log cabin in Bastrop area.

After his early endeavors failed to pick up, Ulbricht decided to go online with the Silk Road idea but admitted that he told way too many people about it. In one of his journals Ross writes that “Everyone knows too much”.

Significant Facts In The Life Of Dread Pirate Roberts1Soon after starting the Silk Road site and becoming its primary administrator, Ulbricht took the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts as his login details, after a film character in the cultish movie The Princess Bride. On March 2013, DPR solicited for his first out of a total of 6 homicides for hire that he orchestrated. This was after a minor user on the Silk Road site tried to extort cash from him, by threatening to publicly release the Silk Road users’ true identities. Though things were heated up at the moment, these killings were eventually not carried out. Dread Pirate Roberts was arrested by FBI on October 1, 2013 in a San Francisco public library.