A Delve into the Silk Road Creator’s Coinbase Wallet Freeze

Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange company, has disabled the “Free Ross” campaign wallet that was meant to help raise funds for Ross Ulbricht, who was the founder and admin of the Silk Road.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road is BACK ONLINE NOW as Silk Road 3.1 and open for business. The team did a change and upgrade for a reason we can only assume for security.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.1 Guide <<

This freeze took place right after the campaign had received 16.5 Bitcoins in donations, a value equivalent to $40,200.

Bit-coin in the wallet
A look into some possibilities for why Coinbase blocked a digital wallet held by “Free Ross,” a fundraising campaign to help cover legal defense costs for the Silk Road founder.

The Ulbricht family is the official manager of the Free Ross campaign.

It was launched to raise funds for Ross Ulbricht’s appeal and legal defense.

After the news of the freeze, members from the Free Ross campaign and others who followed the case closely were quick to offer assistance in order to resolve the situation.

Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2015 for his alleged involvement with the Silk Road, an online market for drug transactions and other illegal business dealings.

The court revealed that he operated the darknet market under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

The site’s illegal products and services were the main reason for Ulbricht’s harsh sentence, due to the massive scale facilitated in the drug trade.

In May 2017, an appellate court denied an application from his legal team.

Ulbricht’s campaign team confirmed the Coinbase freeze.

They stated that they had moved the Bitcoins to Coinbase from blockchain, to enable them to convert to USD and pay for Ross’ defense. However, upon trying to validate their account, it was disabled without any explanation.

All they were told is that Coinbase would get back to them in 72 hours.

Coinbase is one of the most standardized Bitcoin exchange services in the United States.

This company is highly regulated. It’s registered and certified as a Money Service Business with FinCEN.

Hence, it is expected to comply with many financial services and consumer protection laws.

This company has been known to freeze accounts whenever any suspicious activity is noticed.

It also freezes the accounts of those who engage in online gambling. Coinbase has a strict policy where it requires details about how clients intend to use their Bitcoins.

The Silk Road creator’s campaign team has been in operation since the first time he was arrested in October 2013 over the same issue.

The Free Ross campaign has not engaged in any illicit activities. All the campaign does is just present Ulbricht’s side of the story.

In addition, the team tries to raise funds to pay for legal defense and appeals.

The campaign had not been storing all its Bitcoins on Coinbase, but was using the account to convert donations to USD.

Still, the Ross Ulbricht-related plot thickens. Just recently, Coinbase announced that a former federal prosecutor named Kathryn Haun was joining its board of directors.

holding a smartphone and virtual system diagram bitcoin
A digital currency coordinator at the United States Department of Justiceis now joining Coinbase’s board of directors

Haun was a digital currency coordinator at the United States Department of Justice, where her primary focus was on national security, cybercrime, financial fraud and gang activity.

She mainly led investigations into the corrupt federal agents that had been accused of theft and corruption during the Silk Road case.

Both suspects were successfully prosecuted and are now serving a jail term.

The news of Haun joining Coinbase’s board of directors did not sit well with some members of the Bitcoin community.

The freezing of the Silk Road creator’s campaign wallet was a little suspicious, especially since it happened soon after her appointment to the board.

However, it turns out Haun was not the prosecutor that convicted the Silk Road founder.

Coinbase has since unblocked Ross Ulbricht’s legal defense wallet after a flurry of complaints.

The Free Ross twitter account posted that the freeze was an auto security response that occurred after a possible link to previous compromised account.

This incident only highlighted Coinbase’s already beleaguered internal and external issues.

The Silk Road creator’s supporters said the statement was only a cover up of Coinbase’s other problems with IRS.

Thanks to the unfreezing of the wallet, Ulbricht’s campaign team can continue funding their campaign to help him receive some semblance of justice.

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The Silk Road Founder Loses His Life Sentence Appeal

Ross Ulbricht is now destined to spend the rest of his life in prison following the sound rejection of his appeal that was meted out the previous week.

The Second Circuit appellate court ruling was firmly delivered to the Silk Road drug kingpin, famously known as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” in a manner that expressed subtle sympathy for the somewhat excessive, yet completely justified conviction of Ulbricht by the lower district court.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road is BACK ONLINE NOW as Silk Road 3.1 and open for business. The team did a change and upgrade for a reason we can only assume for security.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.1 Guide <<

Rubber stamping that says 'Appeal'.
A Second Circuit appellate court effectively ended Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s fight for justice, upholding the life sentence initially meted out by the district court.

This marked the end of Ulbricht’s five-year battle to escape his lifetime imprisonment sentence, which was influenced by an investigation marred with vast inconsistencies, according to Ulbricht’s defense.

Unauthorized Searches, Corrupt Investigators

The Silk Road investigation is one that will be remembered not only for its unexpectedly severe ending, but also for a number of inconsistencies which many believe played a hand in the largely unfair ruling.

These sentiments were echoed by the appellate court judges who seemed to concur with the majority opinion that the sentencing was heavier than most courts would have issued.

Ulbricht’s appeal was hinged on two key occurrences that his defense feel could have negatively influenced the outcome of his trial.

The involvement of DEA agent Carl Mark Force and Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges—two corrupt officials who stole from the Silk Road and also attempted to extort its founder—in the investigation forced his defense to file for a mistrial.

The appellate court also received and dismissed claims that the Silk Road investigators had conducted unauthorized surveillance of his home network, through which they managed to collect information from his social media and email accounts.

Ulbricht’s defense also raised the issue of what they termed as “unconstitutional searches,” which led to the seizure of his laptop. To this argument, the three-judge panel responded that the searches had been backed by warrants and were as such legal under the Fourth Amendment.

The appellate court upheld and maintained the life imprisonment sentence, despite the prosecution’s move to appeal to the district court’s emotional side by introducing statements which had little or no direct relevance to the Silk Road founder’s case.

Claims that this could have led to misgivings in the final ruling were shot down by the judge panel, who backed the district court’s ability to make decisions that weren’t afflicted by the wrenching testimony.

The three judges, however, agreed that the Silk Road customers’ deaths did not hold much relevance to the trial.

No Reprieve for the Drug Market Founder

Appeal word on card index paper
This marked the end of Ulbricht’s five-year battle to escape his lifetime imprisonment sentence, which was influenced by an investigation marred with vast inconsistencies, according to Ulbricht’s defense.

In the end, the final ruling of the appellate court terminated all hopes of Ulbricht clawing his way out of life imprisonment without parole. The decision to uphold the district court’s ruling was heavily influenced by the “kingpin” charge, which portrayed Ulbricht as a ruthless administrator who had gone to great lengths to protect the wealth he had amassed through the Silk Road under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts.

They reiterated that there had been overwhelming evidence of this, citing the three attempted murder charges that had weighed profoundly against Ulbricht and ultimately played the biggest part in his sentencing.

According to the court documents, the ruling, although excessive, was completely justifiable. In addition to Ulbricht’s actions, the judges called attention to the volume of sales generated by the drug-fueled marketplace, saying that any prosecution would be justified to seek extreme punishment in such a case.

His sentencing was initially intended to partially serve as a dire warning to other dark web drug kingpins which, in retrospect, worsened the situation drastically.

Subsequent versions of the Silk Road all raked in sales that amounted to more than double of what Ulbricht was arrested for in what was a brash display of impunity by online drug overlords who were now much more alert to the danger of being nabbed by the federal authorities.

The appellate court’s ruling also contained undertones of doubt and subtle sympathy for the extreme sentencing of a young man to spend the rest of his life in prison. The panel admitted that although the sentencing was permissible, they might have considered a less harsh ruling if the case had been presented to them first.

Be it as it may, the writing is finally on the wall: Ross Ulbricht, founder of the trailblazing Silk Road One, will live out the rest of his days in prison.

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Silk Road 3 has Upgraded to Silk Road 3.1

The Evolution of the Silk Road Brand

The Original

Founded in 2011 by Ross Ulbricht, a.k.a. Dread Pirate Roberts, Silk Road was the first and definitely the most popular darknet market. But, back in 2013 the FBI arrested Ulbricht, sentenced him to two lifetime sentences and seized the website.

Ever since, people have tried to revive the original brand, and build their success on it, but all of them failed big time.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road is BACK ONLINE NOW as Silk Road 3.1 and open for business. The team did a change and upgrade for a reason we can only assume for security.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.1 Guide <<

The Revival

Upgrade upgrading software program symbol blue computer keyboard
Just when we thought that we won’t see the Silk Road anymore, the new version is out, and it’s named Silk Road 3.1.

Just after the arrest of Ulbricht in 2013, a second version of the site appeared and claimed that it was run by the administrators from the original website. The admin of the new version was also called Dread Pirate Roberts, even though Ulbricht was already in prison.

People simply assumed that Ulbricht’sassociates wanted to make the government believe they had the wrong guy.

The same year, the FBI arrested two staff members of Silk Road 2, while the mastermind abruptly dissapeared promising to reinstate the website. The next year, its user accounts were hacked and $2.7 million worth of bitcoins were stolen, marking a definite end of the second version of the market.

Version 3

Keeping in mind how version 2 ended, it is understandable why Silk Road 3 received so many negative reactions when it launched in 2014. A host of users claimed that the third version of the marketplace was a scam.

So, the admins launched a new and improved version of the market.

Silk Road 3.1

According to the official website, Silk Road 3.1 was created because its predecessor was shut down and allegedly, most vendors moved to the new version of the market.

Now, if you want to access the site, it’s important to make sure you have all the precautionary measures in place—install Tor browser and opt for a decent VPN application.

When registering to Silk Road 3.1, you will be prompted to type in your username, password, pin code and to provide the correct captcha. You will be shown your personal recovery key; make sure you copy and paste it somewhere safe.

After the registration, simply log in using your credentials and you’re all set to browse the marketplace.

But before that, you’ll be greeted with a message prompting you that you’ll be able to reclaim your lost bitcoins if you were a user of the previous version of the site. Simply fill out the form and submit your request.

Keep in mind, though, that your old username won’t work so you’ll have to come up with a new one.

When it comes to user interface, the 3.1 iteration is quite similar to the previous version. At the top of the page, you’ll see the usual menu: home, messages, notifications, profile, orders, support, settings, uchat, faq, forum and logout, respectively.

Just below the dashboard, there’s a search bar, but if you are more into browsing, you can find your desired item(s) arranged in nine categories on the right side of the user interface.

What Can Users Buy on the 3.1 version?

Currently, there are more than 30,000 listings on the market. You can purchase the following types of drugs:

  • Cannabis
  • Opioids
  • Stimulants
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Psychedelic
  • Dissociatives
  • Prescription drugs

Aside from drugs, you can also buy fake money, eBooks, various accounts, etc. on the Silk Road 3.1.

Forbidden items on the market include weapons, child pornography, poisons and terrorism-related items. Also (interestingly), Russians are not welcome on the market in any capacity, to sell or to buy.

Of course, to purchase an item on the Silk Road 3.1, users have to make a bitcoin deposit. And similar to other markets, there’s a review system for both vendors and customers.

Admins recommend using the escrow payment system at all times, especially when buying from new vendors.

There is also the refund option, but only if it turns out that the vendor was a scammer. If the package is seized by the police, the buyer will not be granted a refund.

The Future of Silk Road 3.1

Text upgrade button, 3d rendering
Just after the arrest of Ulbricht in 2013, a second version of the site appeared and claimed that it was run by the administrators from the original website.

Most of the site’s old users claim that each attempt to revive the concept is in vain and that the brand is dead. After the Silk Road 2 fiasco, it will take a lot of time for any variant to again win over users’ trust.

As for the Silk Road 3.1, the darknet marketplace’s future is probably not very bright according to customer reactions. But, on the other hand, the ability to reclaim any lost bitcoins from the previous version is definitely a nice gesture which might just result in customers’ good will to forgive and forget. We’ll see!

Read More

American Kingpin: A Book on the Man behind the Silk Road

In 2011, a 26-year-old programmer by the name Ross Ulbricht yearned to create something that would reach the heights of global renown.

Driven by this need to succeed, the Texas-born Ulbricht would proceed to create Silk Road, a simple website hosted on a part of the internet known as the dark web.

The website initially served a purpose most deemed reasonable, if not salient. Ulbricht’s Silk Road started as a form of protest towards hypocrisy embedded deep into the system.

It made it possible for people to get access to psychedelic mushrooms and marijuana from a place that was well distanced from the government’s grasp.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road is BACK ONLINE NOW as Silk Road 3.1 and open for business. The team did a change and upgrade for a reason we can only assume for security.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.1 Guide <<

This idyllic utopia would not last long.

Book.
Nick Bilton speaks about his forthcoming book “American Kingpin,” which documents the rise and fall of the online drug marketplace.

‘American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road’ documents the journey of the young programmer and his brainchild, the Silk Road — throughout its growth, its eventual corruption and its inevitable demise.

Penned by New York Times bestselling author Nick Bilton, the book portrays not only the Silk Road’s development into a haven where cyber criminals could interact and conduct business undeterred, but also Ulbricht’s eye-opening transformation into a full-fledged crime lord who would willingly spill blood to protect his empire.

A Drug Empire Run from Coffee Shops

During Silk Road’s heyday, as Bilton learned through those involved in the drug-fueled enterprise, Ulbricht lived and worked from Glen Park, San Francisco, and would occasionally run his business from a number of coffee shops frequented by the writer.

According to Bilton’s account of the saga, one of the world’s biggest dark web empires was being operated under everyone’s noses.

Bilton drew from a number of sources in writing the book, including over two billion words in the form of private chats, images and journals that were left behind after Ulbricht’s arrest.

A building he habitually passed while walking, the Glen Park Library, would later become the place where the young programmer would be met with the arm of the law, as Bilton explained.

Dread Pirate Roberts

On his helm of power, Ross Ulbricht ran his business as Dread Pirate Roberts. This pseudonym might have been coined initially to serve as nothing more than a screen name but by the end of his tenure as creator of the original Silk Road, it had an ominous ring to it.

The bigger Silk Road grew, the more determined Ulbricht was to protect it, according to Bilton.

The corruption of the bright young mind was inevitable. By the time of its demise, Dread Pirate Roberts had made $1.2 billion in sales and an estimated $80 million in commissions.

Most of his wealth was stashed in bitcoin, the digital form of currency that made all transactions on the dark web possible, according to the FBI.

It was only a matter of time before money and power corrupted his morals.

Dread Pirate Roberts authorized a hit on one of his former employees, Curtis Green, who he suspected had been stealing from him.

Green had also been nabbed in a failed cocaine deal and now posed a threat to him and the continuity of his business as well.

Bilton captured the online exchange between Dread Pirate Roberts and Green’s would-be assassin, demonstrating that the former participant showed no remorse at all.

In fact, he claimed that Green’s lack of integrity had forced him into paying for his death.

Abominably, he retained a picture of what looked like a dead Curtis Green on his computer as proof of the murder.

Dread Pirate Roberts made his first and, ultimately, most consequential error in hiring an assassin who was actually an undercover DEA agent to do his bidding.

The Dark Web Thrives

Dark Web concept for inaccessible web addresses with white text - Dark Web - on a black enter key on a white computer keyboard viewed at a high angle with blur vignette for focus. 3d Rendering.
Driven by this need to succeed, the Texas-born Ulbricht would proceed to create Silk Road, a simple website hosted on a part of the internet known as the dark web.

Ulbricht has been referred to as the modern day Pablo Escobar many times after his arrest, a title befitting of a man who currently shares a prison with the infamous El Chapo.

The 33-year-old has already appealed his sentencing of life in prison and has a strong following behind him, spearheaded by his mother Lyn Ulbricht.

They believe the sentencing was too heavy-handed, an injustice committed on a promising young mind with ideas that could well usurp political state matters.

Ulbricht was ultimately sentenced as a mafia boss. This served as a warning to anyone who dared take the same path he did, a warning that remains unheeded.

Silk Road will forever remain a trailblazer; a template from which others can learn from to avoid making similar mistakes.

Darknet marketplaces have sprung and died, while others thrived to become ten times bigger and even more profitable than Ulbricht’s Silk Road.

Based far from the United States government’s reach, marketplaces such as AlphaBay may employ the same principles used by the now defunct Silk Road.

But they are ultimately more impenetrable and virtually untouchable. The dark web lives on.

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Former Silk Road Agent Waived His Right to Appeal His Case

In a surprising change of events, Shaun Bridges, who was appealing his six-year sentence for his actions during the takedown of Silk Road, has decided to waive his rights to do so – hence the counsel has decided to dismiss the case.

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 <<

Silhouette of a mysterious man in a vintage style wide brimmed hat in a close up black and white head and shoulders portrait.
Shaun Bridges, who was accused of bitcoin theft during the Silk Road investigation, has chosen to waive his appeal with the judges having accepted it.

During a brief discussion by the three-judge panel, they went through the case and everything that had happened so far in association with Bridges, who is under custody for Bitcoin theft.

When Bridges applied for a waiver on his appeal, the panel didn’t have to think twice because it has already been part of the plea agreement submitted in 2015.

Charges include money laundering and obstruction of justice.

The hearing also allowed Davina Pujari to withdraw from her position as counsel for Bridges.

After going through the case, Bridges was awarded a 71-month sentence for his interference in the Silk Road investigation.

There is no respite from the period as the panel clarified that the defendant didn’t produce any pro se briefs or even an answer to support his appeal claim.

In their statement, they added that the person has already waived off his right to appeal.

There is no way to bring him out of conviction for his theft of Silk Road evidence, and the sentence that he is supposed to serve for the specified period.

The issue dates back to the first hearing and the appeal made by Bridges apart from the allegations that he agreed to having been involved in.

Bridges admitted during the August 2015 investigation that he made use of his position in the Silk Road task force to steal bitcoins.

According to his statement, the investigator made use of the administrative access to Silk Road and stole 20,000 bitcoins from various users who used to regularly purchase items on Silk Road.

In US currency, his Bitcoin theft was worth at least $800,000 at the time, which was diverted to his account.

When the allegations were proved with evidence, Bridges was sentenced to nearly six years in prison in December 2015.

Based on the court documents, it can also be confirmed that he had to forfeit $1.1 million and the agent, who is also the defendant, appealed after he was sentenced in the case.

Later in 2016, the public defender refused to represent Bridges because of conflict of interest, and the position was taken by Pujari to continue the appeal on behalf of the former investigator.

After Pujari took over the case, she went on to file a motion to withdraw in August.

In her appeal, she confirmed that the records have been examined, the case law and relevant statuses that the motion was based on had been verified.

The prosecutor made sure to explore all the possible ways that could deter Bridges from having his appeal getting sanctioned.

Vector of Bitcoin, hacker and its transaction.File contains Clipping mask, Transparency.
During a brief discussion by the three-judge panel, they went through the case and everything that had happened so far in association with Bridges, who is under custody for Bitcoin theft.

The case focused on Shaun Bridges transferring bitcoins from Silk Road in order to have a suspect in the case and to prove the illegal transactions Silk Road had been making.

A victim named Curtis Green was produced in the court, who was later termed as a ‘surprise victim’ who came out of seemingly nowhere and has been making rather drastic claims.

The judge panel opined that the legitimacy of the victim is questionable, and there is no point in trying to include their statements in the plea agreement.

Continuing with his plea agreement, Bridges argued that the surprise victim or the judgment will in no way affect his plea agreement, as it belongs to a different part of the law.

He further argued that the losses incurred during the alleged Bitcoin theft from Silk Road has been significantly increased, leading to the large sentence.

Bridges is not the first investigator to be accused of Bitcoin theft.

He is the second person, as the first complaint was filed against Carl M. Force – a special agent who worked with the U.S.

Drug Enforcement Administration. He decided to plead guilty in 2015. He was accused for the theft of $700,000 worth of Bitcoin with the help of his Baltimore team, and was sentenced to 78-months in prison.

Force and Shaun Bridges worked in the same team to take down Silk Road, a site on the dark web run by Ross Ulbricht, more commonly known by his pseudonym of Dread Pirate Roberts within the community.

The first federal prosecution took place in 2015.

Ulbricht, who was accused in the case for selling drugs and other illegal materials, was sentenced to life in person.

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Alleged Silk Road Admin Seeks a Supreme Court Appeal

It has been nearly four years since the Federal Bureau of Investigation shut down the original Silk Road, and cases related to the infamous darknet market are still in development.

An Irish man who has been accused of playing a vital role in the administration of the Silk Road market planned another appeal to the Supreme Court after his extradition to the United States was ordered.

US authorities want 28-year-old Gary Davis of Johnstown Court, Wicklow to face trial on charges of distributing narcotics, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to commit computer hacking.

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 <<

Gary Davis, the alleged Silk Road administrator, planned to appeal to the Supreme Court following the order for his extradition to the United States.

If Gary Davis were to be convicted in the United States, he faces the possibility of a life sentence.

Davis was indicted by the United States government in 2014 following the takedown of the Silk Road darknet market.

He has been out on bail since he was apprehended in January 2014.

His appeals have mainly focused on the fact that he suffers strongly from Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism.

Going by the details of the formal charge by the Dublin High Court, Gary Davis was accused of being a Silk Road administrator under the pseudonym “Libertas.” Silk Road is said to have enabled the dealing of drugs including but not limited to crystal meth, crack cocaine, marijuana, and cocaine.

Allegedly, Gary Davis received a weekly sum of $1,500 as compensation for his services at Silk Road.

This is according to a payment log discovered in a computer belonging to the incarcerated Silk Road founder, Ross William Ulbricht.

Davis’ responsibilities at Silk Road included addressing vendor queries and indexing the drugs for sale on the darknet market.

Two other administrators of the Silk Road, Andrew Jones (Inigo) and Peter Nash (SSBD), were also indicted by the FBI.

An Irish High court ordered for his extradition in August 2016.

Gary Davis filed an appeal against that order.

His appeal was dismissed by at the Court of Appeal by a three-judge panel in a final hearing on February 28, 2017.

Justice Alan Mahon confirmed that the law does not permit the appeal since its subject matter was not based on a point of law, although he did voice concern for Davis’ condition.

Davis was indicted by the United States government in 2014 following the takedown of the Silk Road darknet market.

He touched on the daunting nature of Davis’ incarceration, but made an assurance that his concerns would be addressed by US authorities within their mandate and capabilities

The panel ordered his extradition after deliberate consideration of evidence pertaining to Davis’ medical condition and the US federal prison system.

Due to his medical condition, Davis felt that detention in a US federal prison would be inhumane and degrading.

According to his representative at the Court of Appeal, John O’Kelly SC, individuals with a severe form of this syndrome rely heavily on the support of their loved ones.

He reiterated that extradition to the US would have a significant impact on his physical and mental well-being.

According to reports, psychiatrists Michael Fitzgerald and Simon Barron-Cohen both confirmed that Davis was indeed afflicted with severer Asperger’s Syndrome.

However, the initial proceedings at the High Court in 2015 revealed that the Silk Road administrator had not been diagnosed with the condition prior to his arrest.

Davis’ chief council, John B Peart, stated that the defense sought to appeal to the Supreme Court within the limited 15-day window following the court date.

This is the standard time period where authorities cannot extradite a defendant.

Reports indicate, however, that Davis acquired information about a possible early extradition.

Justice George Birmingham denied this claim forwarded by John O’Kelly.

Given the 15-day allowance to appeal a court decision according to extradition conditions, it is quite surprising that the US marshals picked up Gary Davis before the expiration of this period.

According to Davis’ solicitor, Lana Doherty, no information was availed relating to that development.

At the moment, there is no information on how the Silk Road administrator planned to plead in the United States.

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“Libertas” of the Silk Road Loses US Extradition Appeal

Irish citizen Gary Davis, 28, has been accused of assisting in the operation of the Silk Road.

The original Silk Road was a darknet market that allowed users to engage in trade of drugs and other illicit goods.

The now defunct Silk Road marketplace was popular for this kind of illegal trade largely due to its privacy and anonymity with the use of bitcoin as the predominant means of payment.

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 <<

Irish citizen Gary Davis, 28, lost his appeal against extradition to the United States for charges associated with being a Silk Road administrator.

Gary Davis recently lost an extradition appeal in the US, where he is expected to face charges that relate to more than $200 million worth of drug sales on the Silk Road website.

Furthermore, Gary Davis is being accused by the US authorities of conspiracy pertaining the distribution of narcotics, to commit computer hacking, and to money laundering.

Davis may be facing life imprisonment in the event he is found guilty of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, let alone if the other charges are added on.

The Court of Appeal of Ireland noted that Gary Davis was allegedly earning $1500 every week for his services on the Silk Road market.

The evidence was supposedly quite substantive, and Davis was not obliged to make a plea in his hearing.

The Defense team’s argument

Gary Davis’ defense attorneys presented an argument on the basis that the judge who had ordered for Davis’ extradition the previous year had made a mistake in reaching a conclusion about Gary Davis’ mental condition, noting that he had Asperger’s syndrome, anxiety, and depression.

According to the court, these did not amount to a legitimate risk of a violation of his rights under the Irish law.

The Court of Appeal’s three-judge bench concurred with the extradition judge’s decision.

The court was of the stance that the United States authorities would adequately protect Gary’s mental and physical health.

The court also said that it had taken into consideration the issues that arose pertaining the extradition and imprisonment of Gary Davis.

Court of Appeal takes into consideration Gary’s mental and physical health

The Court agreed, however, that it would be a gruesome experience for a person who had strong mental health, let alone who had a mental health conditions like Davis, to go through extradition and subsequent imprisonment.

Davis, who was accused of aiding in the operation of the Silk Road darknet market, was taken into custody following his appeal against his extradition to the United States being dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

Davis’ defense lawyers have not yet revealed whether they would be making a further appeal to the Supreme Court of Ireland.

It was emotional for some of Gary’s family and friends who were present in court.

Davis briefly hugged some of his relations before he was put into custody.

The United States authorities claim that Davis was an administrator for the Silk Road website.

The charges that Davis will face carry a life sentence under American law.

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Drug Treatment Worker Who Sold Drugs on Silk Road, Pleads Guilty

Chicago drug treatment center employee, Kevin Campbell, is facing charges for selling drugs on Silkroad and other darknet marketplaces.

On February 3rd, 47-year old Kevin Campbell of Chicago pleaded guilty in a U.S. District Court in Seattle to charges for peddling illicit drugs on Silkroad, including heroin and prescription medications that led to the death of a 27-year old man living in Bellevue.

The Bellevue man died from an overdose after using heroin coupled with prescription drugs obtained from the Silkroad marketplace. Campbell is a drug treatment worker who decided to make some extra cash by selling heroin and prescription drugs on Silkroad, the infamous dark web marketplace. However, his get rich quick scheme turned into a tragedy following a customer’s overdose in August 2013.

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 Arrest

According to case record, the emergency crew received a distress call from a Bellevue home, where they found Jordan Mettee lying unconscious in his bedroom.

He was rushed to the hospital and was later pronounced dead. In Mettee’s home, the authorities found the Silkroad website open on his computer screen, which provided substantial evidence of where he had sourced the drugs and who the provider was.

A detailed exchange on the website between the vendor and the deceased revealed that Campbell was the Silkroad vendor who had provided the drugs.

Further investigation revealed that Campbell was an active drug dealer who supplied illicit substances, such as prescription drugs and heroin, to clients across the country through Silkroad’s platform in exchange for bitcoin.

The drugs were delivered in altered DVD cases, thus avoiding easy detection. An altered DVD case was found near the deceased body, and Campbell’s fingerprints were found on the case.

A search warrant was issued to search the Campbell’s residence, where concrete evidence of his drug trafficking activities was obtained.

Aside from the drugs themselves, other incriminating evidence was discovered, such as shipping and packaging equipment, measuring scales and devices, and empty DVD cases.

The Trial

In a press release, U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes mentioned that this case is both a tragedy and an outrage for allowing a drug trafficker to work at a drug treatment center, a place where drug addicts came to seek help.

Hayes further stressed that the heroin sold by the defendant through Silkroad killed a customer, and will request the court to give a sentence that reflects that fact.

Sale of Drugs on the Rise Even After Closure of SilkRoad

Drug treatment worker who decided to make some extra cash by selling heroin and prescription drugs on Silkroad.

Launched in 2011, Silkroad was one of the first modern darknet marketplaces that allowed users to access illegal drugs securely and anonymously without detection.

The original Silkroad site was shut down in 2013 with the arrest of its founder. More than 13,000 drug listings had been discovered from Silkroad.

Since then, the number of websites similar to Silkroad that sell drugs and other illicit merchandise has exponentially grown, with their preferred currency being bitcoin.

Verdict

Campbell’s case is not the first of its kind. In May 2014, Jenna White and her co-defendant Steven Sadler pleaded guilty to using the Silkroad marketplace to sell and distribute illegal substances.

Annette Hayes, the acting U.S Attorney, stated that Sadler had sold close to $1,000,000 USD worth of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine through the Silkroad prior to the marketplace being shut down in 2013.

Evidence retrieved by the authorities at his residence included drugs, a firearm, and several thousand dollars. Sadler was ultimately given a five-year prison sentence.

Over the past few years, darknet marketplaces such as Silkroad have become a headache of the police and the judicial system due to their employment of new forms of technology to communicate and transact, making it difficult for authorities to handle.

Even after the shutdown of Silkroad website, the investigators established that Campbell found other avenues to sell drugs to customers. With such concrete evidence against him, Campbell may be facing heavy charges. He will be sentenced on May 9th, 2017.

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Silk Road Vendors Indicted for Online Drug Trafficking

Three major Silk Road drug vendors have been indicted on counts of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances across the United States and Australia.

The latest triumph for the US Drug Enforcement Agency involves the arrest and conviction of three high-profile Silk Road drug vendors.

The three, Julian Villa-Gomez Lemus, Fadhle Muqbel Saeed, and Alfonso Bojorquez were arraigned in a Florida court where they pleaded guilty of drug distribution using darknet markets such as Silk Road.

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 <<

31-year-old Lemus was the last of the three to be convicted within the same week for near-similar crimes that involved the sale of illicit substances.

Although they were all pinned for a catalogue of slightly dissimilar charges, the trio was ultimately linked to a similar charge, and that was the conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

It was a good week for the DEA, who spearheaded the investigations with the help of the now highly-resourceful USPIS, and the state of California where the three Silk Road drug vendors resided.

The Trio was Involved in a Drug Distribution Conspiracy

Each of the three Silk Road drug vendors was indicted on two counts, the first one being the conspiracy to distribute controlled substances such as marijuana, hydrocodone, and also methamphetamine.

The apparent associates were also charged with aiding and abetting each other and other drug vendors and criminals that remain unknown to the court.

Initially charged with the conspiracy to distribute only the three aforementioned substances, a subsequent announcement from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida revealed that the group was also heavily involved in the sale and distribution of steroids and cocaine as well.

The announcement revealed that the three were part of a drug trade that spread across the United States and some parts of Australia.

The Three Silk Road Drug Vendors Considered “Heavy Hitters” in the Digital Drug Trade

Drug trade that spread across the United States and some parts of Australia.

Based on the DEA’s testimony before the federal jury in Orlando, Florida, the trio was not a small-scale drug cartel.

They ran a massive drug empire using Silk Road as just one of their platforms, and, according to the DEA, had carried out a total of 1,300 transactions up to the point of arrest.

Purported to have started their operations back in October 2012, the trio had amassed a total of $1.9 million in their years of operation.

In addition to the upcoming sentences for the three, they will also have to forfeit the proceeds of their drug operation, which may be equivalent to the above-stated amount.

Questions Raised Over the Indictment of the Three Silk Road Drug Vendors

The indictment has sparked a lot of interest on Reddit (/r/DarkNetMarkets), with a lot of questions revolving around Fadhle Muqbel Saeed.

Arguably, most of the controversy is centered on why this particular Silk Road drug vendor, despite his numerous aliases on different darknet markets, had gone unnoticed by law enforcement for so long.

Consequently, the general consensus was that the government should have made the arrests a lot earlier considering the scale of the operation ran by the three convicts.

As a result, it took a substantial amount of time to go through all these three men’s associated cases.

For instance, Saeed’s profile came attached to three different monikers from three different darknet markets.

He went by the nicknames “darkexpresso,” “Damien Darko,” and “bonappetit” on his various accounts.

He was also ranked among the top 11% of drug vendors with 100% positive reviews on Silk Road, and had conducted an upwards of 300 transactions on Silk Road in the short span of a year.

Sentences to be Delivered Shortly

The six-count indictment holds a maximum sentence of up to 20 years for each of the men in a federal prison.

The men will be awaiting their respective sentences, which will be delivered on the March 23rd, 2017 according to Attorney A.

Lee Bentley the Third. The charges for all three men involved both their state of residence, California, and Florida where the hearing has been taking place.

The USPIS has been credited for being instrumental in the DEA’s investigation, which was set into motion on the May 11th, 2016 after being signed off on by the necessary authorities.

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“Free Ross” Has Been Hacked

-hack-
The Free Ross accounts were recently hacked by an unknown cyber criminal barely a month after the Free-Ross-A-Thon fundraiser was conducted.

Barely a month after the huge success that was the Free Ross-A-Thon fundraiser (which was co-hosted by a number of high-profile personalities alongside Ross’s mother, Lyn Ulbricht) was held, disaster struck.

Reports of the hacking of the email addresses, the Twitter account, the phone numbers, and worst of all, the Bitcoin and PayPal accounts linked to Free Ross came just a few weeks afterward.

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 <<)

Fundraiser Had Garnered Close to $50,000

The Free Ross-A-Thon was dedicated to helping the family of the Silk Road founder raises about $14,000 in legal fees, which would be used to print Ross’s court appeal documents.

The fundraiser exceeded all expectations by a mile as the proceeds from well-wishers reached $23,500 before Roger Ver, a Bitcoin entrepreneur, matched Ross Ulbricht’s legal fees, bringing the total to $47,000.

Another significant contribution was made by the American Black Cross, a non-profit organization that seeks to help out political prisoners.

The founder, who also happens to be the man behind DefenseDistributed, donated $5,000 to the Silk Road founder’s cause.

The Hacking was announced on 31st December

The announcement was first made during the early morning hours of 31st December via the Free Ross Facebook account.

A similar notice was also put up on Reddit. They informed the public what had happened and asked well-wishers to stop sending in the donations using the normal channels until the matter was clarified.

Unfortunately, this message did not reach as far as it was intended since donations of 1.1 BTC were received in the original PayPal account after the notice was posted.

The blockchain indicated that the hack actually took place on 29th December when two amounts totaling to 20.4 BTC were withdrawn from the account on two separate occasions.

On the morning of the 31st December, shortly before the notice was posted, another withdrawal of 24.7 BTC was made.

Outrage over the Hacking of the Silk Road Founder’s Funds

email-hack
It is said that the hackers had managed to get access to the email account.

Roger Ver, the biggest contributor to the Silk Road founder’s cause, was openly upset over the hacking of the Free Ross accounts.

He let his outrage known through his Twitter account on the same day of the incident by posting a tweet which read in part: “hackers who target those who are already dealing with heartache deserve all our contempt” followed by a link to the Reddit post that warned well-wishers not to donate using the pre-established channels.

Ver was also visibly enraged by the incident as he showed on various Reddit comments, one of which showed his strong feelings towards the hackers who he felt should “burn in hell.”

Hackers Took Over Email Addresses for the Silk Road Initiative

It is said that the hackers had managed to get access to the Free Ross email account, which they had been using to solicit donations from well-wishers.

Ver had received one of such requests which he claimed was poorly put together in broken English.

The hackers are said to have been requesting donations from the well-wishers for another Free Ross meeting, this time a New Year’s party.

Google Helped Free Ross to Gain Control over their Account

On 3rd January, Lyn Ulbricht reported that they had managed to regain control over their previously hacked Gmail account and had managed to track down every last penny that had been donated towards the Silk Road founder’s cause.

She also reported that their PayPal account had not been hacked, that everything was in order and that well-wishers could resume sending their donations to the previously established bitcoin address.

Based on the success of the previous campaign, plans for the next Free-Ross-A-Thon are said to be in the works, and all pointers show that it might take place in 2017.

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