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A year ago, Silk Road 2.0 appeared on the dark web, after the original Silk Road site’s illegal drug trade was shut down by the FBI. Now, Wired reports that Silk Road 2.0 has met a similar fate to its predecessor.
The Silk Road 2.0 could only be accessed via anonymous web browser Tor, but was said to be selling $8 million worth of narcotics and other illicit goods each month.
A coalition of international law enforcement agencies including the FBI, Europol and the Department of Homeland Security arrested the site’s alleged mastermind, Blake Benthall, on Thursday in San Francisco. He has been charged with a variety of crimes including narcotics trafficking, and several conspiracy charges connected to computer hacking, money laundering and trafficking in fraudulent identification.
Gizmodo suggests that taking down the Silk Road for a second time could be ‘just the start’ for an extended operation, suggesting that other drug markets – Cloud9, Hydra and the Cannabis Road forum have apparently also been seized.
“Let’s be clear – this Silk Road, in whatever form, is the road to prison. Those looking to follow in the footsteps of alleged cybercriminals should understand that we will return as many times as necessary to shut down noxious online criminal bazaars,” said Manhattan US attorney Preet Bharara in a press statement. “We don’t get tired,” he added.
Wired suggests that a Silk Road 3.0 may be harder to create, as the bust also included the seizing of Silk Road 2.0’s forum where administrators and the site’s community of buyers and sellers coordinated. “That disruption could make it far more difficult for both the site’s staff and its users to regroup and launch ‘Silk Road 3,'” they write.
Forbes states that the Silk Road 2.0 attracted “150,000 active users by September,” dealing “$8 million-worth of banned opiates, marijuana and other illicit goods a month.”
With Ross Ulbricht, the man arrested in October 2013 on the charge of being Silk Road 1.0’s administrator only due to come to trial in 2015, it will likely be a while before the case is resolved.
Author Alan Martin, ESET