During its active days, the Silk Road 2.0 was being operated by a mysterious man only known as DPR2 by those who worked closely with him. One of such individuals is Blake Benthall, the administrator and main coder of SR2, though he was ultimately arrested in San Francisco just like Ulbricht who was arrested a year earlier.His boss has meanwhile remained anonymous up to date, only described by authorities as a darkweb drug lord who managed to get away.
In a certain private interview, the alleged Dread Pirate Roberts 2 (DPR2) divulged that he had social nights with friends and even cooked dinner while still working on his computer. On one side he was preparing food for some friends, while at the same time running a multimillion narcotics marketplace from a laptop. His computer was wide open whilst making food and even had information running on it, but since none of the friends understood IT matters they did not know what was happening concerning the Silk Road 2.0. Such were the moments when his illegal drug empire came closely to colliding with real-life situations.
Court documents filed by a special FBI agent describe the Silk Road 2.0 as an extensive, complex and widely used criminal bazaar operating on the web. According to state records, at one point in time it was generating sales worth approximately 8 million US dollars in a single month. Despite its illegal tendencies, those behind the site still claimed that it was ideologically driven by a desire for more Internet freedom. Dread Pirate Roberts 2 allegedly presumed a larger-than-life persona, making grandiose statements on the site’s forum about the Silk Road 2.0 and what it represented.
Shortly before the website was launched following shutdown of its predecessor, he said that it would “echo around the world.” Further reiterating that their struggle wasn’t over and also hoping users could carry on fighting vigorously with courage plus dedication as they did in the past before the original Silk Road was taken down. He said Dread Pirate Roberts is immortal due to his libertarian movements, if people devoted themselves to those particular ideals then there’s no way enemies of Internet freedom could ever stop them. DPR2 maintained that authorities may have sunk one ship but in the process awoken the kraken.
As a dedicated veteran of the Silk Road, he spearheaded its relaunch after the original frontrunner site was closed about a month earlier. Before officially opening it, DPR2 says he sat there for about 5 minutes staring at the computer screen. Knowing very well that after hitting enter button a massive manhunt will be launched against him.
Nevertheless, at a particular point upon debuting it he started laughing uncontrollably for about 30 seconds. Describing this event as multiple emotions blended into one. He knew that a line had already been crossed, but still decided to take things further by openly taunting law enforcement on SR2 login page. The man placed a banner that read “THE HIDDEN SITE HAS RISEN AGAIN” to alter what authorities usually place on a darkweb marketplace after seizing it.
That character showcased itself in the man’s life at certain points, escaping arrest also meant keeping secrets from friends and kin. In fact, DPR2 once admitted that he constantly struggled to make his involvement with the Silk Roadanonymous. At some point lying to people became necessary when things were not adding up, according to him running a massive, multimillion-dollar drug business clandestinely was a major secret.
However, as months went by he started questioning himself and whether his actions were correct. Some level of paranoia also cropped in, with DPR2 constantly worrying if one day he went out drinking and imbibed on way too much liquor such that this information came out unconsciously when chatting with friends. Hiding the secret from them also made him feel bad.
Speaking about the Silk Road 2.0, Senator Tom Carper, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, warned that this new website launched just a month after cops took down the first Silk Road shows how technology is dynamic. It’s ever evolving nature means that government policies should adapt accordingly.
Though DPR2 claimed to have generated only four figures while working on this site, there are credible rumors SR2 was clearing up to $400,000 per day. However, he suggests that most of the money was donated to organizations championing for technology & drug policy rights. DPR2 claims the intention of running this drug site was not making money but rather enjoying the thrill of breaking the law. He says there are certain levels of entertainment that once reached it feels like a drug, one cannot easily get off such tendencies upon reaching the desired heights.
According to him, most people will never come to experience this feeling because of its nature. Only a few brave individuals can defy the US government with just a computer and nothing else. This experience is incomparable to anything on earth.
Despite the shenanigans, FBI still managed to seize Silk Road 2.0 in November 2014 as part of an investigation dubbed “Operation Onymous,” which also targeted other illegal darknet sites apart from SR2. They managed to infiltrate the server thanks in part with help from government-funded researchers from Scientific Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University.