Arrests Continues Even after the Shutdown of Silk Road

Arrests related to Silkroad continue as the extradition of two members of Italian Mafia Brussels to the US has been approved by Romanian authorities.
Arrests related to Silkroad continue as the extradition of two members of Italian Mafia Brussels to the US has been approved by Romanian authorities.

More than three years after the original Silkroad dark net marketplace was taken down together with its founder Ross William Ulbricht, the online drug hub is still making the news.

Recently, the extradition of two cyber criminals who were key members of the Italian Mafia Brussels (IMB) has been given the go-ahead by Romanian authorities.

Italian Mafia Brussels was a dark web vendor that dealt in the selling of drugs through Silkroad and Silkroad 2.0.

The majority of the drugs they sold were MDMA and ecstasy.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

Six members of the Italian Mafia Brussels were arrested in Belgium, the US, and Romania. All the six are now in custody awaiting trial.
Six members of the Italian Mafia Brussels were arrested in Belgium, the US, and Romania. All the six are now in custody awaiting trial.

The IMB was taken down through a joint international police operation.

The two key members of the organization, Filip Simion, and Leonardo Cristea were arrested by the police back in May 2016 during simultaneous early morning raids in Bucharest, Romania.

Filip and Leonardo are two among the six members of the Italian Mafia Brussels who have been arrested this year.

This collaboration between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Europol was carried out in the United States, France, Belgium, and Romania.

The operation also led to the arrest of Ymran Djavatkhanov and Andy Nestor, who were suspected to be members of the illegal dark net organization and have been named in the US indictment.

Filip Simon and Leonardo Cristea are currently awaiting trial in the United States.

They will be tried for money laundering and illegal importation of controlled substances.

If they are indeed found guilty, they may face a maximum sentence of 20 years.

On the other hand, Ymran Djavatkhanov and Andy Nestor will be tried in Belgium because the US is not going to pursue their extradition.

The IMB operated storefronts on several dark web platforms including the Silkroad and Silkroad 2.0 where bitcoin was the means of payment.

To avoid online surveillance, they employed some encrypted communication services such as WhatsApp, RedPhone, and Signal while using marketplaces on the Tor network.

According to the US Department of Justice, the investigation of the Italian Mafia Brussels and its relationship to Silkroad began in 2013 after a package containing MDMA was caught by the authorities.

The package was bound for Colorado from Belgium and contained more than 60 grams of MDMA.

The recipient of the package stated that they had bought the drugs from Italian Mafia Brussels.

A number of businesses also complained about receiving returned packages from the United States.

The businesses claimed that they had not sent the said packages.

The IMB operated by sending packages to their Silkroad and Silkroad 2.0 customers mostly in the United States and Canada.

These packages were made to look like they were sent from legal businesses.

The organization carefully chose businesses that dealt with products that were somewhat similar to the drugs.

From February to September 2014, the authorities in Belgium confiscated a number of packages from the organization.

These packages contained invoices similar to those of a legitimate company.

The investigations following these discoveries including the Silkroad investigations were vital in the tracking and subsequent arrest of Fillip Simion and his fellow group members.

Simion was tracked physically by the Romanian Federal Police and the Belgian Federal Judicial Police.

The information was uncovered in 2013 and 2014 after Silkroad and Silkroad 2.0 were shut down; this incident also shed light on the operations of IMB.

The recent spate of arrests and convictions related to the Silkroad and Silkroad 2.0 dark net markets can largely be attributed to the cooperation between international law enforcement agencies.

While these arrests are taking place, Silkroad and Silkroad 2.0 became defunct, and this is a great step against illegal underground operations, but they have done little to stop the online drug dealing operations.

According to recent surveys, dark net markets have steadily increased their customer base despite the revamped crackdown on illegal platforms by law enforcement agencies.

Due to the convenience of the dark net markets such as Silkroad, more people are using these platforms to gain access to drugs and other illegal products or services.

Read More

First Vendor to Get Busted on Silk Road

Silkroad Vendor “shadh1”

Paul Howard aka “shadh1” was the first ever drug vendor with ties to Silkroad to get caught and sentenced after pleading guilty to a barrage of charges, one of which was drug trafficking.

At the time, Silkroad was touted to be the safest place to conduct drug deals being one of the numerous cryptomarkets that law enforcement found so elusive.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

paul-howard-aka-shadh1
Paul Howard Was The First Silk Road Vendor To be Arrested.

Other than being the first arrest of a Silkroad drug dealer since its launch in 2011, this particular case stood out for a number of reasons, some of which were baffling, to say the least.

Silkroad was eventually shut down in 2013 after three rocky years of operation and a bunch of significant arrests.

The Details

According to details that were revealed during the trial, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Services had begun to intercept packages addressed to Howard and his wife’s home address.

In total, 12 mail packages which contained MDMA (better known as ecstasy or simply “e”) were seized by the authorities.

A level of ingenuity had been used to package the drugs as they were cleverly hidden in paraphernalia such as lighters, DVD players, and cards.

Curiously enough, the Silkroad vendor did not notice the thinning inflow of drugs since he kept placing more and more orders on Silkroad as later revealed during the trial.

It was not until the authorities had intercepted a total of 46.9 grams of MDMA that they decided to take the next course of action.

The Bust

australian-federal-police
Australian Federal Police (AFP) first and very successful drug raid of a Silkroad dealer’s house.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) had enough to warrant a sweep of Howard’s home in Brunswick.

In what was the first and very successful drug raid of a Silkroad dealer’s house, the AFP managed to dig up an additional 50 grams of MDMA, 14.5 grams of cocaine and a whopping 989 grams of cannabis.

The drugs were in various stages of packaging as the police stumbled upon several zip-loc bags and scales at the scene.

Some of the drugs had already been packaged into sealed envelopes waiting for shipment.

The police then went on to perform a sweep of his vehicle where they unearthed what appeared to be innocuous sugar cubes that contained a substance which was unidentifiable at the time.

It was only after Howard’s sentencing that substance was identified as LSD. He was not charged with the possession of the drug.

Digital Evidence

The icing on the cake for the AFP was when they stumbled onto some very incriminating evidence on Howard’s phone and computers.

In addition to 148 text messages on his phone which irrevocably bound him to various drug trading activities and had numerous references to Silkroad, the police also found a number of pictures in his computers in which he could be seen handling the drugs.

In what many consider to be a humorous turn of events, his vehicle was also used as evidence against him owing to the fact that his license plate number was the same as his Silkroad moniker, “shadh1.”

Open and Shut Case

The prosecution had a field day cross-examining thousands of incriminating text messages dug up from the Silkroad vendor’s phone, some of which contained explicit information concerning his operations on Silkroad and the volume of drugs he had in possession.

Howard had little choice but to cooperate in the hopes of getting a more lenient sentencing.

He aided the police to search his computer where they managed to dig up a message Howard had posted on Silkroad when he began his illegal dealings.

In a nutshell, the message was a simple bio of who he was and what he did write in a very affable tone.

In addition to importing more than the required marketable quantity of border-controlled drugs into the country, Howard also pleaded guilty to charges of drug trafficking and the possession of over 30 controlled weapons.

Read More

Silk Road Online

It was a different time for Darknet marketplaces back in 2013. The whole idea of a centralized marketplace for something like drugs was not as accepted as it is today, at least not until Silk Road stepped up to the plate.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

Silk Road and Dread Pirate Roberts

DPRSilk Road was the first “real” drug marketplace on Darknet and one of the pioneers of the idea that drugs could be sold and bought over the internet anonymously. It was established by a man called Ross Ulbricht, known to many as “Dread Pirate Roberts” and his associates. Aside from the fact that this was the first Darknet Marketplace of this size, what separated it from other contenders at that time was Dread Pirate Roberts’ philosophy of standing up against the system and proving that drug consumption and trafficking can be done peacefully and safely. One of the main reasons for Silk Road’s existence at that time was to allow people who wanted to purchase illegal drugs, to do so without fearing for their safety.

The Bust

This went on until October 2nd, 2013 when an FBI Seizure Notice replaced the usual Silkroad login screen. Shortly after that, different speculations started circling the Darknet about what was the full story behind this. Most prominent theories were that either Dread Pirate Roberts was arrested, or he ran off with everyone’s money. There were some who still clung to hope that this was just a prank pulled by the site’s admins, but this was soon dispelled by the confirmation of the news that Ross Ulbricht has been arrested on the charges pertaining to running Silk Road.

What followed after could be very well described as a fall of a nation. Mass panic among the Darknet community ensued and many people were justifiably worried about their personal data and whether it was safe. Luckily, most of the buyers from Silkroad were not persecuted but were left with a difficult situation nonetheless. What was to be done now? Without Silk Road where will they purchase the goods that were so readily available to them just a few days ago?

Aftermath

People, who will in time be called “Silk Road refugees,” now had to find a new marketplace that will replace the hole that the site left. This was a period of many scams, one of the most well-known ones being the Sheep Marketplace scam. On the flip side, after the owner of Sheep Marketplace disappeared with estimated 40 million dollars in Bitcoin, a post appeared on the front page of Sheep Marketplace with several .onion links directing to other “trustworthy” marketplaces. The result of this was that not only Sheep Marketplace was shut down due to exit scam, but TorMarket and Black Market Reloaded also had to turn into invite-only marketplaces because their servers could not handle the sudden influx of people from Silk Road and Sheep Marketplace.

Silk Road 2.0

After the fall of Silkroad, some of the admins and prominent vendors refused to “give up” and decided to revive the site as it once was. The alias “Dread Pirate Roberts” was picked up by one of the well-known vendors from the site StExo. He then met with several mods and admins from the site to discuss its revival and even posted a notice on Silkroad forums telling Dread Pirate Roberts to contact him as soon as possible. Many speculated that this was an attempt to make the authorities believe they have a wrong person, or at least that “Dread Pirate Roberts” was not a single person, to begin with.

The Crew

Ross UlbrichtAfter establishing himself as a successor to Dread Pirate Roberts, StExo rallied a group of now-former Silkroad admins and decided that their first course of action was to create a new place of gathering for Silkroad refugees. The people assisting StExo were accurately described as “a colorful bunch,” but they all shared the idea that Silk Road was not dead for good.

Among the group was Scout, a former moderator of Silkroad forum, who was well known and well liked by the community, but had a history of “betraying his captain.” He has been discovered by Dread Pirate Roberts to be conspiring with an undercover federal agent to create a vendor account in an attempt to infiltrate Silk Road. He was laid off because of this and later reinstated just to be fired again, followed by another reinstatement under a different moniker.

Another part of the crew was a person known under the name Same Same But Different (SSBD), who was allegedly Dread Pirate Roberts’ most loyal confidant.

The last person to assist in the creation of Silk Road 2.0 was the former forum administrator Libertas. He was known as “Gestapo,” but nonetheless his seal of approval was what finally got people to rally to Silkroad 2.0’s forum.

Sometime after the creation of Silk Road 2.0 forum, StExo posted under his moniker that while he approves of the site’s forum, will never trust a marketplace opened under the name of someone else’s idea. This was, of course, arouse created to distance StExo from the entire operation.

In November 2013 the new Silk Road 2.0 marketplace opened for business, which was a direct taunt to the authorities. By now any possibility of Silk Road’s staff being on authorities’ radar has been dismissed, and the admins of Silkroad continued using their old monikers.

The problem was that Silkroad 2.0 was a huge taunt to the competence of agencies fighting the War on Drugs and those same agencies held Ross Ulbricht and all data stored on his personal laptop. Unfortunately, that data included personal information on SSBD, Libertas, and Inigo, who were arrested and charged for involvement with Silk Road and Silk Road 2.0. After this, StExo disappeared, but the allure of potential profit that Silkroad offered was too great. He returned under a different name, Defcon, and fabricated a story that would explain the current state of events.

Shortly after, Silkroad 2.0 was allegedly hacked and around 4 thousand Bitcoins were stolen. A post was placed on the site’s forum that contained personal information of said hacker, which later turned out to be fabricated. The accepted explanation is that StExo realized that it is no longer safe running the site and thus decided to run away with all the Bitcoin that was in escrow at the time.

Silk Road 3.0

Following the fall of Silk Road 2.0, a large majority of Darknet has started to shun the name and associate it with scamming. The name that once signified the battle against the War on Drugs is now nothing more than a shade of its former self. Given this, it is unusual, to say the least, that a small but relatively prominent marketplace called Diabolus Marketplace, decided last year to change their name into Silk Road 3.0 following the closure of its second iteration. The site has not only changed its name but has also actively rebranded itself to resemble Silk Road. The owner of the site has also admitted in an interview that they are working with a senior member from older Silk Roads to create the Silk Road 3.0. This has caused the majority of Darknet community to question the trustworthiness of the site and many people went as far as to claim that “you have to be retarded to put money into any site that has Silk Road in its name” and that “Silk Road era is done.” Even sites like DeepDotWeb are warning their users that any further Silkroad iterations are not to be trusted and will probably end up scamming their users. While the Silkroad 3.0 is still up and running, and quite well if one looks at the amount of listings posted on it, there is no telling how it will end and who the people are running it behind the scenes.

Silk Road Reloaded

As with Silk Road 3.0, Silk Road Reloaded was another marketplace that tried to cash in on the name. It got an even worse treatment than Silkroad 3.0, mainly because its admin acted very weirdly, even rudely in some cases, and was considered to be a troll by a majority of Darknet community. An interesting thing about the site is that it was based on i2p rather than Tor, which earned it a lot of side glances from Darknet community. It also had its inbuilt crypto-currency converter, meaning it was accepting payments in a currency other than Bitcoin, which was converted automatically by the site. It has been ten months since any news was heard from the site, which probably means that the marketplace has been shut down for one reason or another.

Future of Silk Road

While Silk Road 3.0 still stands and operates normally, many people who have been visiting Darknet marketplaces for a longer period are appealing to the newer users to steer clear of Silkroad brand. The name itself has been too heavily connected to scamming and foul play, making the majority of users decides on other sites as their source of business. And with the recent increase in personal vendor marketplaces which have proven to be much safer and trustworthy, centralized markets like Silkroad 3.0 are getting less and fewer visitors every day. It is possible that it will be the last real iteration of Silk Road since the name has started to bring more bad publicity than anything else.

Read More

Silk Road 3.0 Returns With A Wide Range Of Products And Services

QzRddtyJw30yuEax1Police forces worldwide have added a number of new sites on their bucket list to track down, a majority of which mostly picked up where the Silkroad has left off with a name that’s not easily forgotten, and never will be.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

This is not the first time the very first modern black market and best-known platform for illicit drugs emerges in the darknet. Following predecessors that law enforcement agencies have been forcibly shut down- the original Silk Road and Silk Road 2.0, comes Silkroad 3.0.

The darknet market has reportedly been active weeks prior to its initial publicity on a Reddit thread on May 15th. It’s impressive how in such a short time, the Tor hidden site is now brimming with all sorts of goods and services, from hardcore drugs, hacking guides, exploit kits, Netflix accounts, fake IDs and passports, but many remain skeptical amidst the new Silkroad’s massive offerings.

Still, whether you need or want anything or simply out of curiosity, Silkroad 3.0 is something one cannot help but take a close look.

Welcome to the Silkroad

Registered members are given a warm welcome by staff member with the pseudonym “Dimitri” along with a greeting post, conveying the message “You will find everything that you desire here.”

Silkroad 3.0 boasts of being the oldest and most secure marketplaces on the darknet that has stood the test of time. The post tells of the Silkroad staff and vendors catering to software, services, and every substance imaginable, and providing only the highest quality products and the best service you can get.

Putting a keen eye on the platform, it seems that the bulk of the operation is centered on drugs. The menu-style sidebar displays a category including Cannabis, Benzos, Dissociatives, Ecstasy, Opioids, Stimulants, Psychedelic, and Prescription. The popular Weed, Cocaine, MDMA, Heroin, Meth, and Speed fall under some of the headings. Other links are comprised of software, eBooks, and digital goods such subscription accounts for eBay, Netflix, and PayPal.

Sounds like what a drug user, hacker, or anyone with a particular purpose needs. But why aren’t many users convinced of its legitimacy?

A Troubled Past

There’s no one to blame for the looming suspicions, since the big name has constantly been associated with FBI crackdowns, exit scams, drug busts and arrests.

The original Silkroad website in 2011 quickly gained notoriety and became a haven for underground dark web-based global trading, and a marketplace that people have come to trust. By the year 2012, Silkroad managed an estimated $15 million worth of annual transactions. It was at its peak and at the top of the game, but Silkroad ended in total disaster with the website seized by the FBI and its creator Ross Ulbricht arrested.

What about Silkroad 2.0? It suffered the same fate and was shut down a year upon launch. An earlier version of 3.0, Silk Road Reloaded, was reportedly mysteriously abandoned after just two months, despite doubts of being FBI-run honeypot.

Warning Signs along the Silkroad Path

SRWelcome (1)The Silkroad 3.0’s support forum is piling up with unhappy customers and a number of “unresolved” topics that are currently listed. One comment shares that after several emails, there were still no goods and no feedback from the vendor.

Another comment tells of pills offered at a discounted rate, only to be asked at the last minute for another 30 bucks for shipping. The seller hasn’t been online for a couple of days and this buyer is asking for help, by which a Silkroad 3.0 admin simply answers with “I think a vendor is a scammer [sic].”

The forums do give users a warning that certain products and services, like child pornography, firearms, chemical weapons, and terrorism-related items are not allowed to be sold on Silkroad.

This area of the Silkroad 3.0 website is directly linked to the Crypto Market, another underground darknet market for irregular commodities, whose admin is said to be the people behind the revamped Silkroad darknet market.

On keeping up with users’ expectations and evading seizure by authorities, will Silkroad 3.0 last? There are indeed a myriad of unfortunate events that could soon befall the marketplace, but there’s no better answer than to let the website speak for itself.

Read More

Police Bust Silk Road Dealers In Norway

According to report, the Norway police’s largest ever online drug bust resulted in 15 arrests last month. According to the police, they nabbed fifteen people who traded drugs on the dark web.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

the-12-worst-drugs-to-get-addict (1)Kripos, the National Criminal Investigation Service in Norway, launched an investigation under the code name “Operation Marco Polo” on the dark web. This turned out to be the largest operation to nab the perpetrators of organized drug crime in the country. An Oslo newspaper, Verdens Gang, reported that the sting operation culminated in the arrest of 15 people. Out the 15 arrested, it is believed that five men are the biggest online dealers of drugs in Norway.

The origin of the case can be traced to theSilk Roaddarknet site. The closure of the Silk Road marketplacein 2013 was attributed to the audacity of Ross Ulbricht (known by the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts), the founder of Silk Road, who posted his personal e-mail address in one of the forums.

Blake Benthall, who operated Silk Road 2.0 under the pseudonym Defcon, committed the same mistake when he registered a server in his own name. This enabled the U.S. authorities not only to shut down the operation of the Silk Road 2.0 site, but also to obtain a list of customers’ as well as vendors’ names. The list also contained the names of the Norwegian traders who made use of the Silk Road marketplace for selling drugs.

Norwegian operators used pseudonyms like “Kvalitetsbevisst,” “Alfa&Omega,” and “Deeplove” on different darknet marketsincluding Silk Road. The police has nabbed and indicted as many as 15 people – 13 men and two women – as part of the Marco Polo investigation since 2014. According to the authorities, the people who bought drugs from the dark web planned to sell them locally.

After a long period of monitoring darknet activities, the police were able to founda 150 marijuana plants in total in various stages of growth in the house’sbasement in Skien. In addition, the police confiscated over 80 communications devices. This included computers, memory sticks and hard drives. Information contained in some of these devices was inaccessibledue to high-quality encryptionand, therefore, were of not much use in police investigations.

Richard Beck Pedersen, who played a key role in Operation Marco Polo, said that the drug dealers could not be identified prior to the operation as the targets made use of technological camouflage right from 2013 to ensure anonymity.

download (7)Another challenge faced by Kripos was following the money trail. This is because the drug dealers accepted payment in bitcoins for the products they supplied. As the digital currency and the payment system are not backed by governments or banks, users carry out direct transactions and this makes things difficult for law enforcement agencies keep track of the movement of the cryptocurrency. Further, transactions were carried out on dark web under the hidden Tor network, which masked the identities of the Silk Road users.

According to Chief Investigator Olav Roisli, it is difficult to track money as there are several stages of transactions when digital currency is used. Further, the advantage of using the dark web was that it enabled the dealers to obtain a large customer base as the customers did not have to visit the country in order to purchase drugs.

The customers were mostly young people who used drugs for recreational purposes and usually have limited access to a physical drug market. Further, these youngsters who bought drugs would not have been able to get them without accessing the dark web.

It is expected that the Operation Marco Polo would be concluded before summer.

Read More

The Silk Road And The Changing Drug Laws

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. Silk Road 3 is up and running with a big selection of goods.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3 Guide <<

The launch of the darknet marketplace Silkroad led to the proliferation of illicit activities on the internet. Politicians, especially Charles Schumer, quickly started targeting Silkroad and the website was shut down by the law enforcement in 2013. However, the concept of distributed, anonymous and peer-reviewed e-commerce using digital currency originated by Silkroad is here to stay.

ross-ulbrichtThe central theme of the operations in the darknet marketplace is bitcoin, the digital currency developed by a person known as Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, which enables pseudonymous transactions. Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Silkroad who was convicted, leveraged bitcoin technology to enable purchase and sale of illicit goods on his website. During the heydays of Silkroad, researchers from academic institutions demonstrated as to how the transactions executed using bitcoin could be tracked as well as analyzed.

The reputation of Silkroaddeclined after the hire-for-murder scheme offered by the website was brought to light. Though the damage it caused through sale of drugs is still unclear, one heroin dealer has said that Silkroad was instrumental in ruining his life. However, as drug laws are changing very fast, particularly with respect to cannabis, the website deserves a fair deal. Further, various political establishments around the world are pushing for decriminalization of different drugs.

The Netherlands is notorious for its lax marijuana laws. In Vancouver in British Columbia, proliferation of cannabis stores, on and off, is very common. In fact, Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, has even said that he would like to decriminalize, but regulate, cannabis. In many jurisdictions around the world, marijuana is legal.

Australia wanted to control enteogens and the Supreme Court overturned the decision of a New Mexico Court, preventing the federal government from banning the use of a sacramental tea by UDV (a Christian Spiritist religion) as it contained a Schedule-1 substance.

US politicians Rand Paul and Ron Paul have worked for the decriminalization of several drugs. Paul has even hinted at decriminalization of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Academic institutions have also classified certain drugs as having therapeutic benefits, for example, LSD.

In an article recently published by Reuters, David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology who has worked with Carhart-Harris, said that it is now possible to see as to what is going on in a person’s brain when it is in the psychedelic state and better understand as to why LSD profoundly impacts self-awareness. According to him, this would mean a lot as far as psychiatry is concerned.

The studies on beneficial effects of drugs would definitely be continued and, therefore, law enforcement agencies should be aware of the implications of once forbidden drugs. Actually, Silkroad was futuristic in the sense that it set the trend for drug commerce, especially marijuana, in the years to come. Most of the transactions on Silkroad involved marijuana.

In the US, legalization of marijuana is a bi-partisan problem. Sixty-three percent of the Republican Millennials and seventy-seven percent of the Democratic Millennials support legalization of cannabis. If marijuana is legalized, movements that promote decriminalization and legalization of Schedule-1 drugs might ensue.

Even pharmaceutical users who did not have insurance allegedly had accounts on Silkroad for purchasing medicines. This is because the site offered privacy, a key health care system attribute, for the procurement of medicines.

silk-road-logo (1)Further, Silkroad offered a rating system that was akin to what eBay or other e-commerce sites offered. This meant that the product sold on the Silkroad site were peer-reviewed. In addition, the rating system effectively monitored the buyers, sellers and products. The rating system also plays a role in keeping a check on false claims through advertisements.

However, many questions remain unanswered, especially the violent services allegedly offered by Silkroad. In addition to counterfeit money, fake IDs and passports, the Silkroad also purportedly offered hitmen services. It is alleged that Ross Ulbricht, who just completed one year in jail, ordered one hit on-site users.

However, the law enforcement agencies that tracked down Ross Ulbricht and Silkroad did not experience any difficulty in cracking the darknet marketplace. If regulated, a pseudonymous marketplace might prove to be a safe option for people who want to buy substances like marijuana that are on the fence as far as legality is concerned. Further, the law enforcement will be in the know of the deals taking place on these websites and will, therefore, be able to enforce better oversight.

Read More

Toyota Worker Bought Drugs On Silk Road

downloadA 28 years old man working for Toyota was served a suspended sentence following the interception of the drugs bought by him from a darknet marketplace at the Heathrow Airport in London, according to reports. The name of the Toyota worker is Adam Yates and he belongs to Derby. The court was informed that he purportedly bought drugs online from Silk Road, an online black market that is currently not operational, and sent it to a lady named Leah.

Baz Bhattia, who is defending Yates, said that he bought ecstasy, cocaine and ketamine, but the character of his client was positive and good previously. He added that Yates started dealing in drugs only after a previous relationship broke down.

The border agency launched an investigation after they intercepted a package that contained ecstasy tablets in February 2014. The package was addressed to Adam Yates. According to Judge Robert Egbuna, intelligence information and verification of text messages available on Yates’ phone showed that he was dealing in drugs with more than one person.

At the time of the first hearing, Yates who hails from Arran Close in Sinfin City, pleaded guilty of possessing drugs with the intention of supplying ecstasy (MMDA) during the period December 2011 to August 2014, proposing to supply cocaine during the period March 2013 to June 2014 and offering to provide the anesthetic drug class B ketamine in June 2014.

On 13 April 2016, Yates was sentenced to a two-year term in prison. A different judge suspended his sentence for a period of two years after they came to know that Yates had turned around his life since he was arrested in 2014. According to Recorder Ciaran Rankin, the background to his arrest in February 2014 is that the package in his name intercepted at the Heathrow Airport contained as many as 50 ecstasy tablets in it.

Rankin also added that when the police interviewed him, Yates answered saying “no comments” to all of the questions asked by the police. However, a mobile phone and the computer that were seized brought to light the fact that he had been dealing in drugs for a considerable amount of time during the period between December 2011 and August 2014.

Additionally, the Recorder said that he has read references saying that Yates is now a reliable and trustworthy and that he has no records of previous convictions. He also referred to the letter from Yates wherein he states that he is disappointed with his own actions.

Silk Road is only one among the many marketplaces on the dark web. Many criminals actively participate in activities on the sites like Silk Road, which includes, but is not limited to, the sale of drugs as well as weapons. Silk Road shut down by the federal authorities in October 2013 and its founder is currently serving a life term in jail. Silk Road was operated on the Tor network as a hidden service, which enabled users to browse incognito without being monitoring by authorities.

3541921Steve Holme, drugs expert in Derbyshire police department, said that even though Silk Road has been closed down, there are more than 70 other sites around the world operating on the Tor network that offer services similar to that was being offered by Silk Road.

Mr. Bhattia said, sitting at the court of Southern Derbyshire Magistrate, during Yate’s sentencing hearing at the Derby Crown Court that his case is an unusual one and that the set of circumstances are also unusual. He also added that there is evidence to show that his client has completely turned around his life from 2014 onwards. He also noted that Yates’ temporary job has now become his permanent job and that he is now paying a mortgage.

During the sentencing, it was also ordered that Yates should carry out unpaid work for 200 hours along with his suspended sentence. Additionally, Yates will also have to present during the procedure of crime hearing scheduled for July 20. During this time, the police may recover the money that he received as part of his drug dealings.

Read More

Lafayette Man Ordered Drugs From Silk Road Faces 20 Years

Michael Munro Jr., a man from Lafayette, pleaded guilty of ordering drugs online using the Silk Road website from a location overseas and having them shipped to his own address. He purportedly smuggled and sold thousands of pills in a week according to a press release last week from the US Attorney’s Office.

The Lafayette Man Who Pleaded Guilty

According to the news release from the office of the US Attorney Stephanie Finley, Munro pleaded guilty on one count of smuggling of controlled substances and another one of possession of Schedule IV narcotic substances with intent to distribute them. Michael Munro Jr. was arrested in November 2014 and July 2015 on charges of buying narcotic drugs online from Silk Road and having them shipped to post offices and FedEx destinations in and around Lafayette. The investigations were conducted by the US Homeland Security Investigations, the US Postal Inspection Service along with Lafayette Metro Narcotics.

Michel Munro Jr. told federal agents that he started purchasing narcotic drugs online from the Silk Road website in March 2014. He ordered up to 1,500 Xanax bars at a time and admitted to selling over 3,000 tablets of Oxycontin in a week via Silk Road. Whereas Xanax is used to treat anxiety, Oxycontin is a painkiller. Alprazolam was another drug that he ordered frequently.

The charges against Munro would fetch him 20 years for the smuggling and 5 years for the second charge of possession of drugs with intent to distribute them. Munrofaces an additional three years of supervised release and $250,000 fine. However, a date for the sentence has not been set yet.

The online drug marketplace Silk Road was launched in the year 2011. Ross Ulbricht, the creator of Silk Road, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2015 on charges including money laundering, computer hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.

Others That Pleaded Guilty in the Silk Road Case

Among others that pleaded guilty in the Silk Road case, one was a former special agent of the US Secret Service. Shaun Bridges of Maryland was a special agent of the US Secret Service for about six years when he was assigned to be a part of the Electronic Crimes Task Force that was investigating the Silk Road case. Through a series of very complex transactions, Shaun stole Bitcoins worth $820,000 when he was part of the Baltimore Task Force. This was a multi-agency group that was in charge of investigating illegal activity on the Silk Road website. He pleaded guilty to using an administrator account to pilfer bitcoins into a wallet. He then moved the amount to a digital currency exchange in Japan called Mt. Gox, liquidated the money between March and May 2013 and transferred the funds to his personal account. Shaun was sentenced to 71 months in prison in December 2015.

Carl M. Force from Baltimore was a special agent that worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration during the investigations of the Silk Road website. He pleaded guilty to stealing over $700,000 in digital currency while working with the investigating agencies as an undercover agent. He was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.

122

Curtis Green was another man arrested in connection with the Silk Road case. A moderator at the site, Curtis Green decided to give all the information to the police on any question that was asked of him. He said that one agent, Shaun Bridges, kept asking him as to how to log on to servers, how to change passwords and how to execute certain other administrative tasks. At one point in time Shaun Bridges transferred bitcoins to Green’s account to make it appear that Curtis had stolen the bitcoins. He received over 30 death threats from those that thought he had stolen their money. Soon the main operator and creator of Silk Road wanted him killed. Unfortunately, the man that he engaged for the murder was Carl M. Force who was working as an undercover agent on the same case. Working together with Green, they tricked Dread Pirate Roberts into believing that Curtis was murdered. Green was sentenced to time served.

Read More

Silk Road Drug Vendor Sentenced For Over 5 Years

>> Click here to find the AlphaBay Market Guide <<

Silkroad vendor

Peter Ward, known by the online name PlutoPete, was sentenced for possessing, supplying and importing class A as well as class B drugs, which included crystal meth and crack cocaine. He sold drugs on the darknet marketplace called Silkroad. Ward, a self-styled “psychonaut,” has been sentenced to a jail term of five years and two months for the crimes committed by him.

PlutoPete

In addition to selling illegal drugs and legal highs through Silkroad, PlutoPete also provided prisoners with “care packages” hiding drugs inside blotting paper. He was put in a jail in Birmingham crown court after he admitted to 13 counts connected with the possession and supply as well as importation of class A and class B drugs, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The fifty-five-year-year-old Silk Road vendor, Peter Ward, was sentenced along with Richard Hiley, who not only converted bitcoins into cash for Ward, but also sold drugs himself. Thirty-year-old Hiley, who hails from Oldbury, West Midlands, and used online names such as RichieRich and happyman, was put in jail for a period of five years. He also admitted to the charges leveled against him and two counts of stun gun imports.

Silkroad vendor arrested

Ward was arrested for the first time in October 2013 in Barnstaple, Devon, following a crackdown on darknet marketplace Silkroad which pioneered online drug sales. Darknet refers to a network of hard-to-trace and unlisted websites such as Silkroad which are commonly used for illicit activities. Ward who was running a foil packaging business claimed that the packaging was capable of preventing drug detection. He also dealt in legal highs as well as other drug paraphernalia.

Silkroad vendor arrested

After Silkroad was shut down, when searching Ward’s home, NCA officers did not only retrieve class A and class B drugs from the Silkroad vendor’s home, but also computers which contained details relating to as many as 5,235 transactions over a period of two years. Out of these transactions, many were legal, but 54 were found to be illegal and they related to dealings in illegal drugs. A forensic analysis of the information collected from his home brought to light his association with Richard Hiley, a former Silkroad customer, whom Ward commissioned to get bitcoins converted into cash. In December 2013, when authorities searched the home of Hiley, authorities came across 242 sales records relating to cocaine, crystal meth and cannabis. Authorities also came across messages that showed that he had to employ a team of people to help when the business boomed.

According to the NCA, dealers often failed to take proper care when it came to handling customers’ personal details. Ian Glover, NCA Branch Commander, said that criminals as well as their customers believed that darknet marketplaces like Silkroad provided a safe and anonymous haven. He added that the reality is something different and that law enforcement authorities from different countries worked together not only to identify criminals, but also to apprehend such people. He also noted that the NCA worked along with the law enforcement authorities to identify and apprehend criminals who illegally traded firearms and drugs online.

Read More

Brothers Ordered Drugs On Darknet Sites Like Silk Road, Sentenced

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. Silk Road 3 is up and running with a big selection of goods.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3 Guide <<
Two brothers, 30 and 32 yrs. old, from Furth Germany have been sentenced to 4 yrs. imprisonment for drug related charges. Though their names were not made public by law enforcement agencies and the prosecution itself, according to published court documents they used darknet sites including Silk Road to order cannabis, ecstasy and bhang online. They resold the same drugs to random customers on the street, while also consuming a part of it themselves. Prosecutors mentioned that the duo traded in these illegal substances for approximately 2 yrs., between 2012 and 2014.

Two German Brothers Sentenced
Court files show that the narcotics were delivered to their personal physical address in Furth. With an estimated weight value of 1800 grams amphetamine, 1700 grams cannabis, 120 ecstasy tablets and some amount of cocaine. During investigations, German authorities seized a package which they examined thoroughly at their Schleswig-Holstein station in early 2015. Thereafter, the older sibling who by that time was a teacher had his apartment searched by officers. This resulted in authorities arresting the suspect at his place of work.

A few months down the line his younger brother was also captured. They were both presented before Nuremberg-Furth’s 7th Criminal Court, and following their confession the magistrate sentenced them to 4 yrs. incarceration plus also arranged for their rehabilitation in a recovery center.

Silk Road is a currently defunct darknet site that was previously used to sell narcotics during its active days. It was run using a Tor hidden platform where users could browse anonymously without fear of being monitored by outsiders. The website was first opened in February 2011, though construction had begun 6 months earlier. Initially there were just but a handful of seller accounts on display, and new users had to buy an account through auction. However, later as Silk Road developed a fixed monetary sum was placed on each new retailer account.

The site was administered by Ross Ulbricht who went by the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts” or simply DPR; he championed libertarian ideals while criticizing internet regulation by authorities. Other than him, two other individuals known as Smedley and Variety Jones were closely involved in overseeing the Silk Road site’s growth and overall success.

Ross UlbirchtUlbricht was arrested in October 2013 by FBI agents after they discovered he owned Silk Road, the takedown happened in San Francisco at a public library named Glen Park. The man was convicted to 7 criminal charges in a Manhattan U.S. Federal Court, and given a life sentence without parole. Some of the charges prosecutors brought forward against DPR in court were money laundering, computer hacking, conspiracy to traffic drugs and attempt to kill six people. They alleged that he paid $730,000 to assassins for the murders, though none of them actually occurred in real life. Ulbricht was not sentenced for any of the murder-for-hire claims.

From this Silk Road operation, cops seized about 26,000 bitcoins with an estimated value of $3.6 million. Moreover, during trial FBI announced that they will continue holding up the bitcoins until his case was finished, after which they would be officially liquidated. Much later during the case cops announced that they intercepted another 144,000 bitcoins belonging to DPR, with an estimated value of $28.5 million. Yet another $87 million worth of bitcoins was also found on Ross’ computer.

After his capture, the Silk Road trial on Ulbricht began on 13th Jan 2015 where he claimed to have opened the site, but later on transferred control to other personnel who took charge of operations. Ulbricht’s attorneys argued that the account name Dread Pirate Roberts was actually being run by a man named Mark Karpeles, and that it was Karpeles who used Ross as a fall guy. However, presiding judge Katherine Forrest ruled that those were mere speculations and prosecution would strictly be based on Silk Road evidence already with the court.

Even after official closure of the first Silk Road site, administrators announced on 6th November 2013 that they had opened another similar network named Silk Road 2.0, purportedly led by a new Dread Pirate Roberts. During its first few days, they recreated the predecessor’s original site setup and also promised enhanced security upgrades to prevent crackdown. But Silk Road 2.0 was also shut down in November 2014 as part of the “Operation Onymous.”

Read More