The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation announced on Thursday, November 6th that Silk Road 2.0, the drug-buying website that had surfaced to replace the original Silk Road has been seized by the FBI, and its alleged operator is now facing federal charges.
Federal law enforcement officials arrested Blake Benthall, known as “Defcon,” with regard to his operation and ownership of the Silk Road 2.0 website, a secret website designed to allow users to buy and sell illegal drugs and other unlawful goods and services anonymously. Benthall was arrested yesterday in San Francisco. He will appear in federal court in San Francisco before Judge Jaqueline Scott Corley later today.
Statement from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, Blake Benthall attempted to resurrect Silk Road, a secret website that law enforcement seized last year, by running Silk Road 2.0, a nearly identical criminal enterprise. 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. We don’t get tired.”
Details from the criminal complaint against Silk Road 2.0
According to the criminal complaint against Benthall unsealed today, he has secretly owned and operated an underground website known as “Silk Road 2.0” since December 2013. The complaint alleges that Silk Road 2.0 had become a large and widely used criminal marketplace on the Internet. The criminal enterprise used the “Tor” network, a computer network distributed around the world designed to conceal the true IP addresses of the computers on the network and the identities of the network’s users. Since its launch in November 2013, Silk Road 2.0 has been used by thousands of drug dealers and other unlawful vendors to distribute illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services to buyers throughout the world, as well as to launder millions of dollars. The complaint alleges that Silk Road 2.0 was seeing sales of $8 million per month and had around 150,000 active users as of September 2014.