Accused Silk Road 2.0 Admin Worked As Contract Software Developer For Former Googler’s Secret Startup

If you want to visit Silk Road 2.0 then you will want to know that it was shut down by the feds on 5th November 2014 and the alleged operator “Defcon” has been arrested. The best alternative is Agora Marketplace, it actually has more listings than Silk Road 2.0. Silk Road 3.0 is ALREADY live and there will be more info about it here soon.

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

Blake BenthallBlake Benthall who was arrested for allegedly running the Silk Road 2.0, an illegal online narcotics bazaar, was a contract software developer at Close. There isn’t much known about Close but the company’s CEO, Falson Fatemi describes it as stealth start-up founded by ex-Googlers and supported by New Enterprise Associates, Felicis Ventures and notable personalities like Dave McClure and Mark Cuban among others. Based on the CEO’s descriptions, Close it seems, is seeking to develop software plug-in that helps people make the most of their social network connections.

HandcopClose came to light after Benthall’s arrest. The company makes a brief but dramatic appearance in the Silk Road 2.0 charging documents. These documents state that he hosted his alleged dark web drug bazaar’s server on one of the subdomains of an Internet address belonging to Close. The documents further reveal that this address was being used by Close up till November 6, 2014. Federal investigators managed to snag this server sometime in May 2014 and where able to identify its physical location in a data center outside the US. Federal investigators got their hands on it anyway, took the computer offline and copied its contents to aid them in forensic investigations.

It is during this brief take-over that the site’s administrator ‘Defcon’ who federal agents allege is Benthall, went into a brief panic attack. It is said that his internet service provider put out several messages warning of the Silk Road 2.0 server’s offline status. The documents allege that ‘Defcon’ instructed the internet service provider not to reboot srv2.close.co server as there were critical processes that needed to be watched. Benthall’s former colleagues at Close including the CEO however seem not to be aware that the Silk Road 2.0 server was running on the company’s Close.co domain. The CEO responded on Twitter saying she could not believe the allegations. She further said she had worked with Blake in the past and to her, these allegations seemed out of character.

Read More

Federal Agents Arrest Alleged Operator Of Silk Road 2.0

If you want to visit Silk Road 2.0 then you will want to know that it was shut down by the feds on 5th November 2014 and the alleged operator “Defcon” has been arrested. The best alternative is Agora Marketplace, it actually has more listings than Silk Road 2.0. Silk Road 3.0 is ALREADY live and there will be more info about it here soon.

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

Silk Road 2.0The Federal Bureau of Investigations on November 6, 2014 announced the arrest of Blake Benthall who it claimed is also known as ‘Defcon’ for allegedly owning and operating the Silk Road 2.0 website. Silkroad 2.0 was a hidden website that allowed users to buy or sell illegal drugs as well as many other forbidden goods and services without being detected by the authorities. Mr. Benthall was arrested in San Francisco and charged with conspiracy to traffic in illicit drugs, money laundering and computer hacking among other crimes. The Silk Road 2.0 had about 150,000 users who transacted about $8 million worth of drugs and contrabands each month.

Silk RoadAccording to the FBI, an undercover agent of the Homeland Security Investigations managed to infiltrate the website’s support staff. The agent as a result gained access to the website’s private sections and even communicated with ‘Defcon’ on a regular basis. The bureau has been investigating Silk Road 2.0 since it popped up late 2013 to replace the original website that was also taken down by the US authorities. The said undercover agent had been instrumental in running Silk Road 2.0 acting as one of its central organizing figures right from the beginning when the site came alive.

The Silkroad 2.0 website made basic operational security mistakes. It is alleged that Blake used his personal email address, [email protected], to register the servers that run the illegal drugs website. As a result of these breaches, the US government agents were able to identify the physical location of the computers that run the website. This discovery was made in May 2014 after which the government agents continued to monitor everything that happened in the website. The agents were also able to locate the foreign server that hosted the website despite it being masked by a Tor network. The records obtained from the server’s hosting provider identified Mr. Benthall as the administrator of the Silk Road 2.0.

The arrest of Mr. Benthall greatly mirrors that of Mr. Ross Ulbricht, the alleged mastermind of the original Silkroad website. Mr. Ulbricht, who is alleged to be ‘Dead Pirate Roberts’, allegedly operated a criminal enterprise that is very similar to the Silk Road 2.0 in many fronts. Like the predecessor, the Silk Road 2.0 used the tor network to mask its illegal dealings that mainly involved sale of illegal goods and services. The hottest items on sale in the website included illicit drugs like psychedelics, cannabis, ecstasy and opioids. The website had more than 13,000 listings just before it was brought down. The authorities also allege that Mr. Benthall used the moniker, ‘Dead pirate Roberts’ when he first launched the site before allegedly switching to the pseudonym, ‘Defcon’. And like Mr. Ulbricht, Mr. Benthall was also arrested in San Francisco.

Mr. Benthall’s arrest as well as the Silk Road 2.0’s takedown comes in the wake of a worldwide swoop on ‘dark net’ sites. Some 16 masterminds of such sites have been arrested in an exercise that also took down more than 400 ‘dark net’ websites and servers. These efforts are expected to continue so as to arrest even more perpetrators in a bid to rid the Internet of illicit trade and contrabands. The entire exercise is estimated to have affected some 18 countries netting digital currency worth over $1 million, over $250,000 in cash as well as silver, gold and narcotics.

Read More

The Silk Road Dealer “SuperTrips” Busted

Cornelis Jan Slomp, a 22-year-old man from Woerden in Netherlands better known by his alias ‘SuperTrips’ used the Silk Road (an underground website) to deal drugs including LSD, ecstasy and cocaine for millions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoins (virtual currency).

Silkroad jail

The Charge

According to a statement issued by his lawyer and U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon, Slomp pleaded guilty to the single drug trafficking conspiracy he was charged with. He was arrested on August, 2013 after a criminal complaint was filed against him. The prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of all alleged proceeds Slomp made from his crimes which is believed to be worth more than 3 million U.S. Dollars.

The Bust

Slomp was arrested at the Miami International Airport en route to a meeting with his co-conspirators. Prosecutors claim that he was planning to ‘spin-off’ his U.S. Silk Road operations to one of them. The 11 co-conspirators who were based in Europe helped him manufacture, pack and ship illegal drugs which bore a question mark as his trademark. He’s in custody and faces a sentence of between 5 years (mandatory minimum) and 40 years (maximum term) in prison.

Activities Monitored

Slomp made more than 10 000 transactions on the Silk Road from which he received about 385 000 Bitcoins. His operations started on March, 2012 and ran to August, 2013 according to undercover FBI agents who had him under vigilance. On April, 2012 U.S. officials seized mailed drugs that were sent from the Netherlands in an otherwise empty VCD case. This incident happened at the O’Hare International Airport, Chicago and Slomp was identified as the sender. Authorities said that they subsequently nabbed a hundred or more similar shipments.

The Plea

Paul Petruzzi, an attorney from Miami who represents Slomp confirmed that his client intended to plead guilty to the charges. Petruzzi said this decision was made after deliberations between the two. The plea will be filed at the prosecutor’s office.

Silkroad agent

>> Click here to find the Silk Road URL and know how to get to the Silk Road 2.0 <<

Read More