Silk Road Founder Moved to Another Location

Family members of Ross Ulbricht, founder of the notorious Silk Road darknet market, tried to visit their beloved family member in the early days of July at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York.

Unfortunately, they could not find him at his assigned correctional facility. Instead, the family learned that the authorities decided to transfer him to another location.

 

NOTE: Silk Road 3.1 was supposedly HACKED and the owners have closed it down. It is a shame, but before too long there will most likely be a Silk Road 4. In the recent weeks, AlphaBay and Hansa markets were seized by law enforcement so they are also gone. But not to worry. The next biggest market is Dream Market. Go to https://dreammarketdrugs.com and you are back on another excellent darknet market.  You must keep your identity safe, always use a VPN, and PGP, never use your real email or name. Happy Trails.

corridor in a prison at night showing jail cells
Earlier this month, the Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht was transferred to another correctional facility without any notice.

In response to this disturbing development, the family took to Twitter to inform the public of what they had just discovered.

They did so through the hashtag #FreeRoss. Ulbricht contacted them the following day informing them about the transfer. The family also tweeted about this development.

The family members have expressed a great deal of concern over the correctional facility that would house Ulbricht.

They feel that it might be hostile to him. For example, the July 6 tweet suggested that Ulbricht deserves a prison that has a safe and secure backyard.

Ross Ulbricht’s Vision & Philosophy

Ulbricht, a Penn State University graduate, wanted to build a dark web site using Bitcoin and Tor.

Tor would help him hide his IP while Bitcoin would help him hide the connection between his identity and his online wallet. He thought that this kind of anonymity would help him evade enforcement officers.

In 2010, Ulbricht embarked on his dream. More specifically, he started building the dark web market called Silk Road, where he would use Dread Pirate Roberts as his login name.

As indicated in his diaries, he wanted to turn 2011 into “a year of prosperity” through this Silk Road venture.

On his profile description for his LinkedIn page, Ulbricht hinted that he envisioned the world as a place that should operate without coercion or aggression.

Silk Road’s End

In October of 2013, Ulbricht was arrested in connection with the darknet marketplace he had built.

An IRS investigator, Gary Alford, first suspected that Ulbricht was in fact running Silk Road under the Dread Pirate Roberts screenname.

Alford’s suspicions started in mid-2013 when he was working with the DEA on the Silk Road case.

Upon his arrest, Ross was charged with money laundering, computer hacking, procuring hitmen for murder and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.

Those who used his website accessed it via the Tor browser, after which they could buy anything, from jewelry to raw milk to narcotics. Then they would pay for these products using Bitcoins.

After his arrest, the Silk Road founder was put on trial where he would respond to all of these charges except the one for murder.

The prosecutor removed the murder charge but the people who procured various products from his site did not commit any murder with the goods they bought.

In May 2015, Ulbricht was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Post-Arrest Events & Subsequent Trial

Early in 2016, Ulbricht’s lawyers submitted an appeal claiming that the DEA’s evidence of the Silk Road investigation was illegally withheld by the prosecutor.

And in October 2016, there was an oral hearing of the appeal.

But in May of this year, the Court of Appeals ended up denying the appeal, confirming the judgment of life imprisonment.

However, Ulbricht argued that he was wrongly convicted and that the district court that arrested him violated the Fourth Amendment, which protects victims against unreasonable searches and seizures.

He claims he was denied the motion to suppress evidence. He also claims that he was deprived of the right to fair trial.

Ulbricht started his life imprisonment at the MCC in New York, but as of July 2017, he was moved to another location.

Dread Pirate Roberts’ Life in Prison

letters life prison barbed wire.frame
Family members said that Ulbricht deserves a prison that has a safe and secure backyard

Before Ulbricht was moved to an unknown correctional center early in July, reports from his family members indicated that the Silk Road founder had learned how to adapt to prison life.

Lyn Ulbricht, Ross’s mother, campaigned for her son’s release by telling the story of how he planted a seed in one corner of his cell and then used damp towel to support it until it sprouted.

Unfortunately, it was taken away by a prison guard and placed on the counselor’s desk.

Ulbricht’s Life Before Prison

Before he was nabbed, Ulbricht used to travel the world visiting some of the most beautiful beaches and engaging in surfing.

The drug kingpin and dark web mastermind looked like any other regular tourist. You would not have imagined him to be the Dread Pirate Roberts.

However, when he was not in the water surfing, he would be busy using his hotel room’s free Wi-Fi to manage his dark web site.

Conviction Actually Feeds Darknet Market Trends

Though the Silk Road kingpin was seized by law enforcement, drug trafficking has not stopped.

In fact, illegal trade on the dark web has seen an increase in sales after the news came that Ulbricht was sentenced to life imprisonment.

From such results, one can only conclude that the media coverage of Ross Ulbricht and Silk Road only publicized his works.

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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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Coen Brothers to Write the Script for the Silk Road Movie

Films about Cyber-crime or hacking are not in the mainstream nowadays. However, in recent years films with internet security themes are getting their fair share of high-end movie screen time. In the last two years, a couple of notable films with the same storylines are “Blackhat”, and Oliver Stone’s NSA breach biopic “Snowden”.

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 <<

Ethan and Joel Coen at the premiere of Hail, Caesar! in Los Angeles on
Ethan and Joel Coen at the premiere of Hail, Caesar! in Los Angeles on

According to reports, an upcoming film is going to add to this list. The film, entitled “Dark Web”, this film is based on a wired two-part account on the Silk Road and its convicted founder Ross William Ulbricht.

Fox Studios who has exclusive rights to the story have enlisted the services of two well-established and high profile film screenwriters, directors and editors in Hollywood; the Coen Brothers.

Ethan and Joel Coen are going to write the screenplay for the Silk Road film, but at the moment it is not known whether they will also direct the movie.

It would definitely be a great news if the brothers are directing the movie as well, but they are known to write films not as directors.

The Coen brothers have an enviable list of film-related achievements behind them spanning several decades including but not limited to “The Big Lebowski”, “True Grit”, “No country for Old Men”, “Fargo”, “O Brother”, “Where Art Thou?”, “Bridge of Spies” and “Hail Caesar”.

The brothers earned Oscars for their parts in “Fargo” and “No Country for Old Men”.

As such, the expectations for this film will definitely be high. Silk Road, on which the film will be based, is the highly controversial online drug dealing dark web forum founded and operated by Ross William Ulbricht.

Silkroad was originally founded in February 2011, and derived its name from an old historical network of trade routes used between many countries .
Silkroad was originally founded in February 2011, and derived its name from an old historical network of trade routes used between many countries .

Silk Road was established in February 2011 and until his arrest in October 2013 by the FBI, Ulbricht operated the site under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

He is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole; a sentence that many people felt was unduly harsh.

According to investigations by the FBI, Silk Road facilitated anonymous channels for dealers to transact illegal goods and services most of which were drugs.

The film is set to dwell largely on the aspects of the dark web platforms.

According to some reports, the film will feature the alleged purchase of special services such as contract killings, an accusation that the FBI pointed at Dread Pirate Roberts.

Many Silk Road users have since slammed these allegations on online forums as false.

They deny the existence of such kinds of services claiming that Silk Road only facilitated the buying and selling of drugs.

Currently, the true inner details of the Silk Road and Dread Pirate Roberts are still murky.

As such, it is very likely that the film may not be 100% accurate as in the case with the majority of Hollywood movies that are based on true stories.

The aforementioned “Snowden” was the recent testament to this.

Also, the film will feature a part of the story that law enforcement agencies would rather prefer to stay low profiled.

Ross Ulbricht was not the only individual to be implicated in the Silk Road.

Two federal agents including Carl Force, a former DEA agent, were also charged with extorting and laundering bitcoins from the Silk Road platform and Ulbricht himself.

It is important to note that this is not the beginning of the work on this film.

The project started back in 2013, where Chernin Entertainment and Fox Studios enlisted Dennis Lehane to write the script for the movie. At the time it was titled Silk Road.

Lehane himself is a bestselling author and has films such as “Shutter Island”, “Gone Baby Gone”, and “Mystic River” under his name.

It is not clear what exactly prompted the changes or even if the new script is a continuation of Lehane’s work.

Fortunately for Dark Web, the Silk Road saga is still a developing story as a new Silk Road is currently in operation despite its founder being in prison.

Also, Ulbricht is still appealing the sentence with a major focus on the discrepancies in his trial process.

The film is still more than a year off with expected release dates in late 2017 or early 2018.

Therefore, the Coen Brothers still have an interesting range of directions in which to take the film depending on any developments within that given period of time.

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Silk Road on American Greed TV Show

Recently, the popular CNBC TV show American Greed did a feature on Silkroad, the controversial digital drug dealing darknet market platform conceived and owned by Ross Ulbricht.

The American Greed episode was entirely focused on Ulbricht’s supposed pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts” and the operations of the illegal online utopia.

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 <<

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Silk Road On The TV Screen With American Greed

While a number of the references have been positive, the large majority have always painted a very negative picture of these platforms even though they are not always involved in illegal activity.

The Silkroad, however, cannot be given the benefit of the doubt. It is well known to have been complacent in criminal activity with Ross Ulbricht currently facing life in prison.

American Greed’s Verdict on Silkroad

The American Greed show can be complimented for taking a somewhat different and unscripted direction in its exposé’s.

It highlights key events or operations through the accounts of witnesses and expert opinions.

This approach enables the show to document current and past events that shed light on the dark sides of American capitalism including Silkroad that corporate media fails to cover.

According to the show, Silkroad was founded mainly to provide a secure and anonymous means for sellers and buyers to transact illegal goods and services online through the Tor network.

The Silkroad marketplace operated only through Bitcoins, the cryptocurrency that facilitates anonymous online trade in darknet markets.

Dread Pirate Roberts controlled nearly every aspect of the Silkroad marketplace.

Apparently, he acquired the computer infrastructure needed to set up the marketplace, maintained the official website and also set customer and vendor policies. Some of these policies included what could be sold on the Silkroad.

Ross Ulbricht was arrested in October 2013 by the FBI where he was accused of being Dread Pirate Roberts. The Silkroad website was then seized and taken down.

At the time, Dread Pirate Robert’s wealth was estimated to be millions of dollars in bitcoins.

Ulbricht is now facing a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He was found guilty on several counts including conspiracy to distribute narcotics, conspiracy to commit computer hacking, and money laundering.

Points of Contention

american-greed
American Greed unveils incredible true cases of crime and the lust for power…stories of people who do anything for money.

While Silkroad is definitely villainous from the law’s perspective, it does not exactly fit the profile of American Greed’s show.

The show usually focuses on the aspects of people or entities stealing money, something that DPR is not guilty of.

In fact, the instances of theft related to this case occurred against Silkroad itself, something the show failed to dwell on but should have.

It could be because of the fact that Carl Force, the person responsible for siphoning bitcoins from the Silkroad marketplace happens to be a former DEA agent.

Nonetheless, it was an informative alternative account and is bound to generate interesting comments in days to come.

It is definitely recommendable to any open-minded person seeking to know more about this underground online crime platform.

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Silk Road’s “Dread Pirate Roberts” Turns Jail Artist

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

Ross Ulbricht supporters have come up with an ingenious way of making donations for his defense fund; he was convicted last year for being the mastermind behind the online drug bazaar, Silk Road. Ulbricht’s family, who are spearheading the campaign for his release, relaunched the website where people can give in donations at will.  This money will be used by Ulbricht’s defense to argue his Silk Road case again before a court of appeal.

The site has changed its look, adding a fresh gamified twist to its contributions page, which now features the Silk Road founder’s own artwork and a rare home video. Though this clip has since been privatized by admin without giving any reasons whatsoever, these strategies are all aimed at raising more funds for Ross Ulbricht, Silk Road’s “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

Dread Pirate Roberts

Titled “The Trial I Saw,” Ulbricht’s artwork shows how Ross saw the trial from his perspective, the trial which took approximately three weeks. He was found guilty of running Silk Road which was an encrypted drug-trafficking site working as an online black market version of eBay, with an international network of dealers and consumers.

Supporters of the Silk Road creator, Ross Ulbricht, can make their donations directly by playing the “Free Ross” game. For only a $1 donation, one can reveal single art squares at a time and even leave pixelated messages for Ulbricht to read. The drawing is hidden under a grid consisting of 9,156 squares, a portion of which is revealed as players make their dollar donations and click on grids.

One can either choose single squares or make bulk selections at a go, depending on how much they want to donate for the Silk Road creator’s defense fund. In bulk selections, supporters have an option of 10, 25 or 50. Personal notes can be posted at checkout; it will show up on your grid when hovering upon it with the cursor. Lots of squares have already been filled so far, which is indicative that the Silk Road founder known as “Dread Pirate Roberts” has lots of supporters who want to see him released from jail.

Inspired by his dreams, Ross had an idea of raising funds through depicting exclusive artwork. The result of which is a skillful drawing made in jail. It shows how he viewed the Silk Road conviction and what was going on through his mind at each and every stage. There are a total of 8 hidden characters in the artwork, with users encouraged to identify them and post their findings on Twitter @free ross, or Facebook on the official FreeRoss page.

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Moreover, 21 lucky squares have been concealed inside the grid and those who are fortunate enough to find them will win a 1 gram gold bar token from Roberts & Roberts Brokerage firm. They will send winners their gold once the whole drawing has been revealed. Nevertheless, you can pre-order a poster representing the artwork or bid upon the framed original version in an auction. Both options are currently available from the FreeRoss.org website. So far, Free Ross site shows that his defense fund has raised more than $433,000, with the ultimate goal being $650,000.

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Former Silk Road Agent Attempted To Flee The Country, Re-Arrested

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

bridges.headshotFormer Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges was re-arrested on 28th of January 2016. This arrest comes just one day before he was scheduled to turn himself in to prison authorities in Baltimore to begin his sentence of 71 months for the theft of 20,000 bitcoins with an estimated value of about $800,000 in connection to investigations into the Silk Road. He was suspected of trying to flee the country and so had to be arrested. Prosecutors say the arrest went without incident, but that the arresting officers discovered passports, bulletproof vests and documents for offshore companies in Mauritius, Belize and Nevis. At least one of the bullet proof vests had Secret Service markings on it and is therefore believed to have been stolen from the government.

Also discovered during the arrest were documents for his wife, Ariana Esposito, which shows her attempts at obtaining citizenship in a different country. A MacBook with scratched off serial number and an iPad were also discovered. Exactly what all of the evidence means is hard to say but prosecutors argue that it is enough proof that Bridges never intended to report to prison authorities as scheduled.

Sentencing to 71 months

Shaun Bridges pleaded guilty in October 2015 to charges of money laundering and obstruction of justice in connection to the Silk Road case, and agreed to pay $500,000 in restitution. He was then released on bail and later sentenced to 71 months in jail in December 2015.

During his sentencing back in December, 2015, Bridges was ordered to forfeit all funds which are a result of the Bitcoin theft from the Silk Road. These include $475,000 in cash, and funds held in investments. The US District Judge Richard Seeborg while sentencing Bridges said the case was to him an extremely serious crime which consisted of the betrayal of the public’s trust from a public official, and that it was motivated by greed. And although he hardly ever finds himself in a position to impose high-end sentences, he did find it warranted in this case.

A little background of the Bitcoin theft

As a Secret Service agent, Shaun Bridges was charged with guarding the members of the First Family. He has also worked for the National Security Agency and has been considered a kind of hero. But after he got assigned to the Silk Road Task Force, things started to change.

In May of 2013, Bridges wired $820,000 from his account at Mt. Gox, which was the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world back then into an account belonging to Quantum International Investments, LLC, a company he had just registered in February of the same year. Two days later, he closes down Mt. Gox by seizing $2.1 million in its accounts with a seizure warrant against Mt. Gox which he organized. While on the surface, everything looked like he was a serious cop doing his job, the seizure of the funds at Mt. Gox was actually a stunt to prevent authorities from finding out about his $820,000 because he had heard that an investigation was being carried out against Mt. Gox. By this action, the investigation was shut down but Bridges’ problems were not yet over.

The Curtis Green Story

Early in 2013, the Silk Road Task Force, with which Shaun Bridges worked, had a major breakthrough in their case against the Dread Pirate Roberts, the owner of the Silk Road. They arrested a man named Curtis Green, who was a moderator on the website, and in order to receive a lighter punishment, Green decided to cooperate with the authorities.

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Having decided to help the “good guys” as he put it, he went ahead to give 100% detailed information on any question asked him. He revealed to the agents how to log onto the Silk Road servers, how to change passwords, and how to perform other administrative tasks. According to Green, one agent kept asking him over and over to describe how to log in, and how to change passwords, that agent was Shaun Bridges.

Making the Steal – 20,000 Bitcoins

Having taken enough notes from the interrogation of Curtis Green, Bridges went to work on the servers of the Silk Road, he changed the passwords of all the drug dealers on the website, thereby locking them out of their accounts, and then transferred all their bitcoins into the account of Curtis Green. They were approximately 20,000 bitcoins in total, and they had an estimated worth of about $300, 000 then.

Framing Curtis Green

When Bridges transferred the bitcoins he stole into Green’s account on the Silk Road, he had effectively made it seem like it was Green who had stolen the money. The members of the site who have lost money then also later heard that Green was cooperating with the authorities and his frame-up was complete. He explained that he received well over 30 death threats from people who though he had stolen their money, and that the Dread Pirate Roberts himself ordered hit on him.

Unluckily for the Dread Pirate Roberts, one of the killers he hired on the website was none other than Carl Mark Force IV, who was working undercover on the Silk Road. The agents worked together with Green to fool the Dread Pirate Roberts into believing he had been murdered. They took pictures of him lying in a dead position and faked it well, DPR believed it, and it was this hit on Green that would help cause his arrest.

The Turnout

In May 2014, Carl Mark Force IV, who was not very careful with his illegal activities got reported by a Bitcoin exchange named Bitstamp. On March 18, 2015, Bridges was suspended as a result of Mark Force’s case having shed light on his own illegal activities. He resigned, and things have been getting worse for him since then.

bitstamp-temporary-suspension

Today, he is in jail, his wife, Ariana Esposito, who quickly married him so as to evoke spousal immunity and not testifies against him in court, has lost her chance for a job as a state trooper, after having completed the trooper academy. Ross Ulbricht a.k.a the Dread Pirate Roberts was sentenced to life in prison and Carl Mark Force IV was sentenced to six and a half years. Curtis Green was sentenced to time served and is currently undergoing therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder.

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The IRS Investigator Who Pinned Down Silk Road DPR

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 <<

For Internet fanatics, the story of the Silk Road’s rise and fall is one of the news that they will never forget. It is a story worthy of a film of its own. Yet, most great stories start with a beginning, and there lies the problem.

silk_road
By mid-2013, Silk Road is facilitating sales of drugs amounting to $300,000 a day. At this point, Silk Road has been running for about two years. For the authorities, the real problem was very basic – they simply did not know who the man behind the curtains is. This all changed when an unlikely agent came into the scene.

Most people would imagine a super techie genius to hunt down the man known as DPR. In reality, the name is Gary L. Alford. And no, he is not from the FBI, Homeland Security or from other big name government security agencies. Mr. Alford is an IRS agent. It was a tax sleuth that actually first identified Ross W. Ulbricht as the Dread Pirate Roberts. If that’s not surprising enough, you won’t believe how he traced Mr. Ulbricht.

Once again, most people would assume that Gary Alford used supercomputers with a mind-boggling algorithm to search for the infamous man behind Silk Road. Sorry to burst your bubble, but Mr. Alford simply relied on trusty old’ Google. And no, it hasn’t taken complicated algorithms or scripts to bust the case wide open. Mr. Alford simply used his understanding of human behavior, how things work and persistence. His formula was actually very simple, but it took some time to execute; which makes Mr. Alford a genius in his own ways. But, Mr. Alford had his shares of massive disappointment while grueling the case.

It took 3 months for Mr. Alford to find enough evidence to present his case to his superiors, which states that Ross W. Ulbricht is the Dread Pirate Roberts. You might be thinking that everyone in the operation was thrilled to finally find a prime suspect.

This was not the case. In fact, a day in June 2013, Gary Alford was running to work with adrenaline pumping in his blood. Mr. Alford was expecting that he’ll be greeted with excited as he finally uncovered the possible real name of Dread Pirate Rogers, including his address. Instead, he was greeted with a brush off. Looking back at it, even Mr. Alford admitted that it was easy for him to be ignored.

Gary Alford joined the investigation pretty late. Also, he came from the IRS joining the ranks of other more prominent agencies in a joint operation. Lastly, Mr. Alford was not a real techie when compared to the cybercrime guys of the FBI. Mr. Alford looked at the problem in a different perspective, which leads him to the pinpointing Ross W. Ulbricht as DPR.

In this day and age of technical investigation, it’s easy to assume that you need genius-level tech skills and knowledge to break a case as big as the Silk Road. However, for Mr. Alford, he largely relies on human behavior. For him, here is a guy, sitting behind to a computer, making a stupid mistake prior to Silk Road’s meteoric rise.

Aged 42, Peter Nash pled guiltyYes, it was a careless mistake of Mr. Ulbricht that led to his demise. In retrospect, it was not really that reckless, as he never envisioned how Silk Road would become a giant player in the drug trade.

Mr. Alford used Google’s advance search options. Specifically, he was looking for Internet postings for the first mentions of the Silk Road. By late May of 2013, Mr. Alford spotted a name known as “Altoid,” asking if anyone has heard of the Silk Road, and this was in early 2011.

During the first weekends of June 2013, Mr. Alford scoured every posting that “Altoid” made. It’s similar to scouring for evidence under trashcans near the area of a crime scene. He then got lucky.

“Altoid” made a comment, about asking for programming help, and he posted his email address “[email protected]” along with it. This was very lucky as “Altoid” deleted the comment, but was preserved because of a reply made by another user. By this time, Mr. Alford had a name.

Mr. Alford continued to search everything to know about Mr. Ulbricht, and what he found out was very interesting. Mr. Ulbricht was very vocal about his political views on his social media accounts. Here is a guy that admired free-market economy, admired Ludwig von Mises and a libertarian. These were the same qualities that you can find with a Dread Pirate Robert’s post in the Silk Road forum. Mr. Alford forwarded his finding to his supervisors.

However, it failed to generate some buzz, but Mr. Alford continued to collect evidence against Mr. Ulbricht. At the time, his goal was to make Mr. Ulbricht’s name as a potential suspect of the Silk Road, next to the DRP, Dead Pirate Roberts and Altoid aliases. When his findings were not being heard, he went straight up to the head.

Mr. Serrin Turner was the Manhattan federal prosecutor and was overseeing the entire operation. Mr. Turner was juggling different operations and Mr. Alford’s persistence lead to a heated argument. For Mr. Alford, it seems he’s not making any progress and was one of his colleagues even suggested about quitting.

Thankfully, Mr. Alford ignored the suggestion and continued to build his case. During the early days of September, he requested one of his colleagues to run another background check of Mr. Ulbricht, just in case he missed something critical. Mr. Alford’s colleague then gave him a major break.

Mr. Alford’s colleague found out a report concerning Mr. Ulbricht. There were nine fake IDs seized at the Canadian border. The fake IDs were addressed to Mr. Ulbricht. As the report of the incident was being read, things grew much more intriguing.

The report stated that Mr. Ulbricht was questioned about the fake IDs. Mr. Ulbricht declined any idea about them. However, Mr. Ulbricht voluntarily commented that “hypothetically” anyone could order fake IDs in a site known as the Silk Road.

Armed with this finding, Mr. Alford called Mr. Turner and forwarded his information. This time, Mr. Turner was ecstatic about the report, including the use of profane words out of sheer enthusiasm. This is where the next chapter of the Silk Road story starts.

Mr. Turner then mobilized resources focusing on Mr. Ulbricht. This is the part of the story in which most people know about – the laptop-grabbing ending and a life sentence conviction.

But like every great story, it starts somewhere. For this part, the real breakthrough started with Mr. Alford pinpointing the real identity of Dread Pirate Roberts.

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Major Players Of Silk Road

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 latest update from the 2013 collapse of the Silk Road dark web market sees a 54-yr. old Canadian man by the name of Roger Thomas Clark detained in a Thai jail awaiting extradition to the United States. This most recent development follows the bringing-to-justice arc of one of the most interesting cyber-crime stories of our time.

Today we’ll take a look back, in touching on the Silk Road story, and the brains behind the world’s one-time largest drug market – and see where they are now, too.

Silk Road

Silk Road shot to fame in June of 2011 after a Gawker published an article covering a very basic account of how the online market operated. The site had, in fact, been operating for six months already, coming online in January of the same year.

drug-943759_1920The website offered a place online where you could buy and sell anything you pleased – including illegal products and services – all without compromising your identity. The site was accessed through the anonymity browser Tor, and goods exchanges were purchased via the Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

The site was in operation up until October of 2013, when the website originator was arrested. A new Silk Road 2.0 sprung up in its place run by many of the same team as the original marketplace, but that site was subsequently shut down and its operator too arrested.

According to tracked articles from various news sites there have been at least 138 arrests made in association with Silk Road. This includes buyers, sellers, staff and operators. Various other darknet markets such as Utopia, Agora, Evolution and Sheep have seen a similar pattern of law enforcement targeting, although not to the same degree (yet) as Silk Road.

Dread Pirate Roberts

The notorious “kingpin” behind the Silk Road marketplace, Ross Ulbricht, aka Dread Pirate Roberts, currently sits patiently in a jail cell plotting his next appeal.

Ulbricht was arrested in San Francisco in October 2013, following a huge undercover investigation that was aimed squarely are dismantling the online marketplace. His trial in January 2014 took almost a month to complete, with a jury finding him guilty on all charges, subsequently rewarding him with life in jail. The multiple charges included money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and computer hacking.

But as far as underworld figures go, he’s not exactly the person you’d think him to be. He’s a whip smart young guy with a passion for knowledge – studying physics and chemical engineering, ending up in research science. From there he then switched paths, focusing on libertarianism and free economic theory.

The Silk Road idea was dreamed up to escape the boundaries that exist in real-world transactions. He coded up the initial website based on his own libertarianism ideals and the rest, as they say, is history.

Wordpress codes

Variety Jones

Variety Jones has been the latest man to fall from grace in the collapse of Silk Road. Roger Thomas Clark has been indicted by the US Department of Justice, accused of similar charges as Ulbricht, including narcotics trafficking and conspiracy to aid and abet hacking. He also faces up to life in jail for his alleged offences.

Clark has been living a low-key life on the island of Koh Chang up until this point.

Clark allegedly met Ulbricht through the site, when, as Variety Jones, he became a trusted marijuana seed seller. He was also very bright, and was quick to inform Ulbricht of a possible security flaw in the website, which sparked their initial friendship.

From here, Ulbricht regularly chatted to Clark, who in turn acted as a sort of mentor for the young man with the flourishing business. He ended up performing many functions across the business as the pair’s friendship deepened, and at several points in time there were payments given as compensation for services rendered for the business.

It appears that Clark had been supplying marijuana seeds since before the time of Silk Road’s launch and was involved in IT, although not much more information is yet available on his background.

Smedley

A third key player in the Silk Road story goes by the name of Smedley. Smedley came on board the Silk Road project in January of 2012, when the popularity of the online marketplace was sky-rocketing. It appeared that Smedley was a brilliant coder, tackling technical problems all over the site.

Logs from the site servers show a dream environment envisaged by Dread Pirate Roberts, Variety Jones, and Smedley. This environment was structured to turn Silk Road into a bundled services provider for the deep web, much like Google is on the clear net. Smedley had already half-completed some of the elements necessary to turn all their dreams into realities.

We don’t yet know – and may never know – who Smedley, in fact, is.

We can be quite sure though, that law enforcement will continue to target those people responsible for starting and running darknet markets – and that the penalties are staggeringly steep.

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Mother Of Silk Road Creator Has Suffered A Heart Attack

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 mother to Silkroad founder Ross Ulbricht recently got a heart-attack, which could have been caused by shock and concern over her son’s arrest. Ever since Ross known as “Dread Pirate Roberts” was given a life sentence, Mrs. Lyn Ulbricht has been on the frontline in championing for his release from prison following the Silkroad ruling. News about her condition was first broke out by the “Free Ross” official Twitter account, where they wrote that she had suffered a heart failure but is currently in hospital recuperating and making great improvements with each passing day.

The family has gone through a lot of stressful times in their campaigns and that’s probably why these health issues are emerging. Though Ross’ reaction after hearing the sad news has not yet been revealed, it probably made him feel helpless given that his mom has been doing all this just to get him released from jail.

Some online users have already pointed fingers on the convicted Silkroad man for his mother’s woes; they claim that he underestimated the risks involved in trading drugs online by refusing to encrypt Silkroad transactions. Something that ultimately gave cops an upper hand in finding enough evidence to place him behind bars. Maybe if he had taken better security measures on his Silkroad site then the arrest would not have been made, and the mom might not have passed through such painful conditions that led to her heart attack.

Lyn Ulbricht
Given that Mrs. Lyn had been healthy prior to the current heart condition, it’s very unlikely that it could have been caused by another underlying disease other than the stresses of his son’s Silkroad conviction. Nevertheless, some people are putting blame on the jury for giving Ross a rather harsh Silkroad penalty, and not considering the evidence which her mom brought forth to court showing how officers tampered with investigations. Based on these allegations, it could be that Mrs. Ulbricht felt like her evidence towards freeing the Silkroad founder were not being given proper consideration. And this might have triggered a sudden realization that her efforts would ultimately not bear fruits, despite all the hard work that has been put towards the case. Such overwhelming feelings may also be responsible for the heart attack.

Those who are routing for Ross’ release argue that the sentence was not necessary, given that he was not an immediate threat to society. The jury didn’t consider his family’s plea despite them having enough evidence of Silkroad case tampering by police officers. Lyn has been caught on several occasions saying that everybody deserves the right to proper hearing when accused of a crime, but for his son it has all been a one-sided affair where court proceedings relied solely on prosecution evidence while mulling what the accused had to say about the Silkroad case.

Based on Dread Pirate Roberts’ past clean criminal history, seeing that he’s a first time offender in drug related activities, the mom still believes that his Silkroad case was hurried and not handled professionally by concerned judges. Though details have not yet emerged as to what she was actually doing at the time the heart attack happened, it’s believed that Lyn was in her new home in New York after temporarily relocating from Austin, Texas, to be closer to her son who is currently being held at the Manhattan Metropolitan Correctional Center after being found guilty of playing a part in Silkroad.

Heart Pulse
Mandatory life sentence is quite long and the fact that she wouldn’t be seeing Ross for many decades can be quite overwhelming. The judges gave their Silkroad injunction without considering the effects it would have on immediate family members, Mrs. Lyn’s sudden heart attack goes to show how Ulbricht’s family has been in deep turmoil since the man was incarcerated for his Silkroad involvement.

During the Silkroad trial, it emerged that DPR once said that he “made drugs safer” and this might have been interpreted by judges as a sign of arrogance, hence, the heavy sentencing. However, others believe that she only wanted to make an example out of him for anyone else who may be tempted to join the drug trade. The mother believes justice isn’t supposed to be blind and emotive but all-inclusive by considering emerging evidence, even if the case is already ongoing as was with Silkroad.

She maintains that Silkroad was not created to sell drugs but as a free-market libertarian site, where people had the right to do whatever they want without scrutiny from government agencies. Ross himself was a well-meaning person despite other individuals using the Silkroad platform he created to trade narcotics. In a recent interview, Lyn admits that they regularly discussed these issues before his son’s arrest. While still a free man, he used to give lectures at the University of Texas concerning free market courses, and was also considering a YouTube course on the same. The mother definitely doesn’t support the sale of narcotics on Silkroad but is for freedom of Internet use. Lyn Ulbricht is currently receiving treatment at the hospital and is yet to give a statement regarding her heart attack.

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DPR Mentor To Be Back Online

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 <<

Dread Pirate RobertsThe mentor of the clandestine operator of Silkroad, Ross Ulbricht (also known as Dread Pirate Roberts), has appeared back online after a long stint of silence. Apart from being his advisor, Variety Jones also made key financial and security decisions on the Silkroad during its operations. He further tried to expand the Silkroad portfolio to other sectors such as installation of encrypted email service.

Based on information sourced from backup logs, Jones had last been active the time Silkroad was being shut down after a sanctioned federal embargo. Thereafter, he maintained a low profile and did not appear on any Silkroad public forum until recently.

The research conducted by an independent researcher by the name of “La Moustache” determined that Variety Jones is likely Roger or Thomas Clark. Though web data showed his account to be operational, efforts to chat with Jones/Clark were unfruitful.

Moreover, another of his old usernames “Plural of Mongoose” has been resurrected on a popular cannabis forum. This is the moniker that led researcher La Moustache to track down Variety Jones, after he started posting long, auto-biographical writings about himself.

Though it’s still uncertain as to where the physical location of Plural of Mongoose is, one of his recent posts hints that he’ll be going somewhere or making a journey of some sort. Which suggests that he might be headed to prison. The man wrote “I’ve got this trip planned…” and he’s looking forward to exploring the big city though not yet sure where to stay upon arrival. Mr. Jones ends the message by giving a chilling premonition that it could be a “state of the art” facility he’s going to, if readers actually know what he means.

It seems as if he has logged back to his old account, with the sole aim of communicating with old contacts before making the alleged trip. Assuming this account is being run by the original owner, and not a third party individual. Variety Jones says he has no idea when he’ll be back from the voyage, which is why the account was revived to have some little conversation with former Silkroad friends, enemies and acquaintances alike before going away.

The posts, some containing as much as 3,000 words, explain how “Plural of Mongoose” was arrested after being found running an underground cannabis business in UK, amongst other related crimes. At one point, Jones even identifies himself as “Roger Thomas Clark,” which were the same names uncovered by researcher La Moustache. Despite these revelations the FBI have not yet given any response as to their next course of action.

During his active years at the Silkroad, Variety played an important role in pointing out security holes on the site which needed immediate fixing. As the Silkroad platform steadily grew, he soon became a staffer and right-hand man of founder Ulbricht.

Silk Road MarketplaceDue to Jones’s influence, Ross who was operating under the pseudonym of DPR began appreciating just how popular the Silkroad brand could get. In one of his uncovered journals, Ulbricht writes that the man helped him develop a bigger picture of their operations. He helped DPR navigate through uncharted waters which led to further expansion of the website, such as opening of Silkroad exchange, chat, credit union and lottery participation programs.

Recent revelations show that before the federal investigations into Silkroad started, Jones was already planning to shape the Silkroad site into a stronger more tamper-proof entity which could survive years of intense security searches. In fact, there are more than 1,400 chat log pages between Variety Jones and Dread Pirate Roberts. That figure is at least 4 times more than all messages connecting DPR with other employees on the Silkroad platform, clearly showing their business relations were more detailed.

Jones later changed his Silkroad name to Cimon and was present during its active years, giving the operator tips on how to expand until it reached its heydays as the primary online drug bazaar. Ulbricht sought advice from Jones because he was good at adding his own personal touch to the fast emerging Silkroad market. From his activities till date, it’s apparent that Variety Jones has a habit of changing his online moniker every so often, maybe in a bid to confuse federal agents.

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