Toyota Worker Bought Drugs On Silk Road

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

Lafayette Man Ordered Drugs From Silk Road Faces 20 Years

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

The Lafayette Man Who Pleaded Guilty

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

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

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

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

Others That Pleaded Guilty in the Silk Road Case

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

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


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

Read More

Silk Road Drug Vendor Sentenced For Over 5 Years

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

Silkroad vendor

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


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

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

Silkroad vendor arrested

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

Silkroad vendor arrested

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

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

Read More

Brothers Ordered Drugs On Darknet Sites Like Silk Road, Sentenced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

Man Imported Ecstasy Pills Via The Silk Road Site Imprisoned

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 <<

Hayden Ross Bacon, aged 22, a residence of Hamilton has been sentenced to two years and seven months behind bars by the Hamilton District Court on Wednesday. The man had pleaded guilty last month to one of the representative cases in which he was accused of importing ecstasy drug. He was further charged with supplying the drug together with the importation of a psychoactive drug substance. MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) popularly known as Ecstasy is a psychoactive drug that is similar to both hallucinogen mescaline and amphetamine. The drug gives one the feeling of energy, euphoria, empathy towards others, emotional warmth and distortion in time perception and sensory. The drug is illegal in many countries and is sold through the black market.

Auckland District CourtIn Auckland District Court, Bacon pleaded guilty to the charge of being in possession with pseudoephedrine that he intended to supply. The drug is a pharmacy-only drug that is intended for use in relieving congestion in the nose that is caused by allergies, colds and hay fever. The drug is a well-known ingredient used in the manufacture of the drug P. Evidence that was availed to the court indicated that Bacon placed an order of these tablets from the Silk Road website that is currently defunct. A total of twenty of the pills he ordered were sent from Netherlands to New Zealand concealed in a pair of greeting cards. Other eleven were put in an envelope and sent to a different location. He also imported 20 more pills disguised as chewing gum as they were packed in a packet that contained chewing gums.

Judge Robert SpearThe case was presided over by Judge Robert Spear, asserted that the man acquired the drugs with an aim of reselling them in an open market with an aim of making profits. Still from the Silk Road, the man was accused of buying a soluble strip of a psychoactive substance whose nature the court had not yet established. On two other cases, the man was accused of purchasing some HDMA from Hamilton on two other separate cases.

There had been a total of eight importations organized by Bacon involving pseudoephedrine that have been intercepted by law enforcers between July and October 2013. The court heard that in one of these occasions, Bacon visited a Courier Post depot office and signed for a packet that contained drugs and delivered it to another person. Although the quantity of drugs involved was not established, the court was told that they must have been more than a kilogram.

Bacon’s dealing with the drugs shocked his family, relatives and close friends as they all registered shock when they heard the news. They indicated that he never showed signs of being involved in drug and no one would have suspected him.

When pressing the charges, the judge said that Bacon had made a deliberate decision to use the Silk Road, a website widely known for facilitating the illegal trade, to purchase and supply drugs.

Read More

Silk Road Vendor Found Guilty For Selling Thousands Of Dollars Worth Of Methylone

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 <<

As the Department of Justice at Middle District of Florida announced “federal jury has found Andrew Pieters (30, Orlando) guilty of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and attempting to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.” Pieters will be serving the maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

Who is Andrew Pieters?Andrew Pieters

Andrew Pieters, a former vendor on the Silk Road marketplace was arrested in January 9th, 2015.

Evidence suggests that Pieters was, not only selling drugs at the online black market, but out on the streets, too. Apparently, the former Silk Road vendor was a top-level distributor of methylone in central Florida.

Methylone (street name – molly), is basically a club drug; similar to ecstasy, it has much more sever health risks. Molly is a Schedule I controlled substance that causes overheating, dehydration, and even death.

According to evidence, the drug that Andrew Pieters, aka Drew, was selling between January and August 2013 had been imported from China and purchased through Silk Road, a well-known online drug marketplace. The Silk Road had been shut down in October 2013, and its founder, Ross Ulbricht, sentenced to a lifetime in prison, earlier this year.

But, back to Pieters – according to some sources, he was already known to the police; the trouble was that they were unable to gather enough evidence against him to make the case. Pieters was a longtime suspect of the DEA, but since selling drugs on the Silk Road marketplace was anonymous, they had some trouble identifying him.

After the shutdown of the Silk Road, Pieters was forced to move his business out to the streets, where an entirely different set of rules applied. Leaving behind the security that the online trading provided, Pieters was completely unaware of the street rules. If he had been, he would’ve been more cautious. Luckily for the DEA, an informer recognized him as the top-level seller on the streets, so they made a plan to catch him red-handed.

The Operation

The whole operation of catching the former Silk Road vendor was thoroughly planned by the Special DEA Agent, Schappert.

The DEA started an investigation on him in November 2014 in cooperation with the informer, who was actually a former convict. Apparently, the informer identified Andrew Pieters as a person who could receive and sell a kilo of methylone to prospective buyers within a week.

In December 2014, the informer, working closely with the DEA, negotiated the sale of 2 kilos of methylone. The call was, however, recorded.


Pieters met with the informer first time in January 2015, when they arranged the trade. What Pieters wasn’t aware of was that his future client was thoroughly wired and the whole conversation was recorded. Pieters was clearly heard to say that he already had a buyer, meaning that he was acting as a middleman in this particular trade. Pieters agreed to receive 2 kilos of methylone and deliver it to the buyer; he was also heard to say how this time he’s willing to do it without commission, but that he will demand some percentage of the next deal.

The DEA in cooperation with the local detectives, made a plan to provide the informer with 2 kilos of fake methylone to take it to Pieters. Fake drug was packaged in the US Postal Service Box. Informer and Pieters met again at the Millenia Place apartments located at 5215 Blvd., Orlando, Florida.

Packed with video and audio recording equipment, the informer parked his car on the arranged address and waited for Pieters; while the DEA agent and detectives stayed just behind, within the transmission range.

When Pieters arrived in his BMW, the informer took the 2 kilos of drugs and joined Pieters in his car. Soon after he was arrested.

According to the DEA agent, Pieters refused to provide the name of his buyer, who allegedly canceled the buyout just before the arranged meeting; apparently, the former Silk Road vendor intended to sell the drug for his own gain, since the street value of a kilogram of molly was around $11,000.

Online Black MarketDepartment of Justice confirmed that “prior to his arrest, Pieters had planned to distribute at least a kilogram per week of methylone in central Florida.”

Andrew ‘Drew’ Pieters faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, for the attempt to possess and distribute illegal drug called methylone.

His sentence hearing is scheduled for December 10, 2015.

Read More

21 Arrested In Online Drug Bust

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

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

NSW PoliceTwenty-one people have been arrested after New South Wales (NSW) Police seized thousands of dollars worth of illicit drugs traded online in Sydney.

Strike Force Oadby together with the Redfern Region Enforcement Squad (RES) led a two-month operation started in June 2015 to bust the suppliers of the illicit drugs marketed online through social networking websites, classified ads sites and the dark web.

During the operation, authorities confiscated a number of illicit substances such as methylamphetamine (or ice), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), cannabis, ecstasy and gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), all of which were worth an estimated street value of AUD$32,000.

Aside from the drugs impounded, investigators also found some stolen property and thousands of dollars in cash, and then confiscated for forensic examination purposes.

Strike Force Oadby detectives who were teamed up with officers based in Central Metropolitan Region cuffed 21 people over the course of the operation, who were all charged with 45 drug-related offenses afterwards.

Meanwhile, NSW Police said it’s still unsettled whether those arrests were related to each other. That being said, it can’t be assumed that the Strike Force detectives just stopped the whole drug operation.

As per Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Bell, technology has modified the means of people to trade in illicit drugs, thus leaving a significant impact on the policing strategies purposely developed to fight this particular trend.

Det Ch Insp Bell said that this criminal activity posed a unique challenge for law enforcement to invade lairs of operators and track down drug transactions made online.

The detective chief inspector also said that NSW Police deemed Strike Force Oadby as an important companion towards battling and blocking this new trend.

To warn people behind the supply of illicit drugs, Det Ch Insp Bell who is also the commander of Redfern RES added that the operation would resume so as to stop this illegal enterprise making drug transactions through distinct methods.

Silk Road Shutdown

In October 2013, US FBI authorities closed down Silk Road, the biggest drug black market across the globe, but found out that it reopened with the name Silk Road 2.0 just a few weeks later. With the assistance of Europol, US federal authorities shut down the said successor of Silk Road on November 2014.

In February this year, Ross Ulbricht was found guilty as the operator of Silk Road who masterminded a scheme enabling approximately US$200 million of anonymous online illicit drug sales through bitcoins.


Read More

Silk Road 2.0 Vendor Is Jailed For Two Years

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

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

Cei William OwensA 29-yr.-old Welsh man by the name of Cei William Owens pleaded guilty to charges of supplying of class A and B drugs; he now faces a 2-yr. jail term. William was arrested alongside six other British nationals by the (NCA) National Crime Agency, being part of a broader clampdown on dark web site Silkroad 2.0. Reports indicate that he used to run his Silkroad business as a small mail order-style service, shipping narcotics to clients at certain pre-arranged drop off points.

He’s been charged with distribution of both class A & B Silkroad drugs including magic mushrooms and bhang, plus three other counts of possession. Owens, who’s a former resident of Aberdovey but recently staying at Aberystwyth, will be subjected to an additional “Proceeds of Crime” investigation. This will give the courts supreme power to seize any cash or assets derived from his illegal Silkroad activities.

During his Silkroad sentencing at the Swansea Crown Court, it was revealed that William went under the virtual pseudonym “Johnny Alpha” and traded with his account as part of the organized and sophisticated delivery system. Also for the campaigns, he advertised the narcotics as “quality hash” while promising clients free next day delivery and offering to ship illicit Silkroad substances via 1st class registered mail. Following a sanctioned raid at his residence, detectives recovered narcotics, digital scales and data encryption software installed within his computer.

In spite of a defence plea to give a suspended sentence, Recorder Ian Murphy QC said that he had no other option but enforcing an immediate prison term on the Silkroad dealer. The nature of his operations was quite complicated, with photographic exhibits showing a room had actually been converted to a distribution center; he also had lots of customer feedback from clients on his Silkroad profile.

On the home raid conducted by federal agents, various prohibited Silkroad paraphernalia was recovered including cannabis, MDMA, heat-sealing machines and legal highs with an estimated street value of £1,700. Moreover, stamps from Canada and Netherlands were discovered in the house showing that maybe Cei William was shipping narcotics to these countries as well.

Read More

Drug Listing On Silk Road

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

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

There might be some debate about what were the most popular drugs that were sold on the Silkroad, the online darknet market whose founder was recently sentenced to life in prison without parole? A study that was conducted by Professor Nicolas Christin, a Carnegie Mellon researcher, provides an answer. Christin’s research focuses on online crime and computer security and he’s the first researcher to come up with real measurements on Silk Road.

Professor Nicolas Christin
Silkroad founder Ross Ulbricht, who used the nom de guerre “Dread Pirate Roberts”, was sentenced on Friday 29 May 2015. He had faced a minimum of twenty years in prison after being found guilty on a range of charges, from money laundering to drug trafficking.

Nicolas and his team analyzed Silkroad daily from February 2012 to July 2012, and looked at the sale of approximately 24000 items. He and his team used a website crawling system and were able to create a detailed picture of the kind of goods that were being sold on the Silkroad and the revenues made by operators and sellers.

The team discovered that Silkroad was mainly used as a market for narcotics and controlled substances, including marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy. Marijuana was the top selling drug and it represented 13.7% percent of sales. “Drugs” (that encompassed a wide range of illegal narcotics not further categorized by the sellers) represented 9%, “prescription” was 7.3%, cocaine 2.6%, MDMA 1.6% and heroin 1.5%.

Nicolas Christin notes in his paper that sixteen of the top twenty categories on the Silkroad are drug related, with “soft drugs” such as marijuana outselling “hard drugs” such as opiates. Nicolas wrote that “this presumably simply reflects market demand”.

According to the FBI, other categories, such as “digital goods” and “services” also offered illicit purchases such as pirated content and hacking services. The large “books” category included titles such as “Hacking for Beginners”. The 4th nondrug category was erotica.

BitcoinThe paper estimates Silkroad’s daily sales by counting the site’s customer feedback and using the average item prices, coming to an average daily volume of approximately 7700 bitcoins per day, or $ 1.22 million per month. At this rate, the Silkroad would have sold over $ 40 million in the thirty four months it was in operation.

That would not be surprising, since the average daily sales increased by 44% in just the months that were measured in the study, and most of the customers seemed to be satisfied with their purchasing experiences—around 98% of all posted feedback was positive.

Read More