Silk Road Shut Down: FBI Raid on Illegal Drug Marketplace Leads to Arrest, Bitcoin Seizure

by at . Comments

U.S. law enforcement authorities raided and have have shut down the online drug and criminal activity marketplace Silk Road, according to reports.

The FBI arrested Silk Road owner Ross William Ulbricht, 29, also known as "Dread Pirate Roberts," in California on Tuesday, court filings indicate.

Silk Road Grab

Federal prosecutors in New York charged Ulbricht with narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.

"Silk Road has emerged as the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet today," FBI agent Christopher Tarbell said.

According to Tarbell, the site was used by "several thousand drug dealers" to buy and sell "hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs" among other items.

The site, which had operated since early 2011, also offered tutorials on hacking ATM machines, contact lists for black market connections and counterfeiters.

There were even guns and hit men for sale, according to the charges.

Authorities also seized $3.6 million worth of digital currency Bitcoin, which was used instead of cash or credit cards to complete transactions on Silk Road.

The charges against Ulbricht said his website generated sales of more than 9.5 million Bitcoins, roughly equivalent to $1.2 billion, since its inception.

The raid on Wednesday was not the first time the U.S. government has made arrests related to Silk Road, but it is the first to shut down the website.

Earlier this year, authorities in South Carolina arrested Eric Daniel Hughes, who used Silk Road under the name Casey Jones, for drug possession.

The Drug Enforcement Agency seized units of the digital currency Bitcoin, which Hughes allegedly used to purchase drugs from the online market.

Bitcoins, which have been around since 2008, first came under scrutiny in 2011 after media reports surfaced linking the digital currency to Silk Road.

Tags: ,