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.
Despite McAllister’s claim to be a legitimate businessman, investigations showed that he had accessed Silkroad, a darknet market, through a secure email system and a Firefox browser. This is the information given by Brian Fitzherbert, the prosecutor. McAllister was using his laptop in communicating with the suppliers in India and Thailand. He later followed up communication on telephone. Two out of three of the packages sent were addressed to McAllister while one was addressed to Wilson. The intercepted drugs were found in false bottoms of handbags.
McAllister and Wilson were brought before the Exeter Crown Court. They pleaded guilty for importing heroin and cannabis from Silkroad. The Recorder QC, James Waddington, made it clear how serious the offenses by McAllister and Wilson were. He was also satisfied that there was no alternative to custodial sentences. He stated their offenses and showed that McAllister took the leading role in communication with the suppliers on Silkroad. Although Wilson did not play the leading role, his role was also important because without it, the transaction on Silkroad would not take place. McAllister was sentenced to 3 years in prison while Wilson was sentence to 2 years and 8 months in prison.
Wilson’s representative, Kevin Hopper, justified his client’s actions by saying he suffered from anxiety and depression and that he felt taken advantage of. He also tried clearing Wilson’s name by making it clear that it was not his idea to import the drugs. All he did was give his details when transferring money via Western Union and the drugs were sent to his address. Kevin Hopper described his client as a hard working person who worked for the local authority.
McAllister’s representative, Martin Salloway, described his client as one having good work ethic and a good businessman. The court had been informed of McAllister’s previous charges for burglary and possession of drugs.
Silkroad, a darknet market infamous for selling illegal drugs that worked in a similar way to eBay but its access was restricted to those who have the special software required to access the site. Some of the categories of drugs sold on Silkroad include stimulants, prescription, ecstasy, cannabis and steroids among many others. Apart from drugs, Silkroad also sold fake driver’s licenses. It restricted the sale of various items including child pornography, weapons and child pornography.
Silkroad was first formed in 2011, operated as a Tor hidden service and conducted transactions using bitcoins to prevent tracing information of buyers and sellers. The FBI acquired information about the illegal activities taking place in the site and they shut it down in 2013. Ross William Ulbricht was arrested in October 2013 under the charges of being the owner of Silkroad. In May 2015, Ulbricht was sentenced to life imprisonment without any possibility of parole.
After the closure of Silkroad, Silkroad 2.0 emerged and was trading in the darknet market again. It was operated by former administrators of the original Silkroad site that was shut down. Encrypted copies of the site’s source code were distributed as a precaution just in case of another shutdown. The alleged owner of Silkroad 2.0 was also arrested and the site was shut down.
Despite the shutdown of Silkroad, other darknet markets continue to emerge. In an investigation that was carried out about the darknet markets, it was discovered that not everyone who buys from there wants to do so. Some may need prescription medications which are expensive in local pharmacies hence they turn to darknet markets where they are cheaper.