Silk Road website shut down, ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ indicted

Website Seized Silk Road website shut down, Dread Pirate Roberts indictedBALTIMORE – The infamous “Silk Road” website has been shut down and its owner was arrested on Tuesday.

The online drug bazaar now displays a “This Hidden Site Has Been Seized” message.

Since it was created in 2011, Silk Road has been a hot online destination for all kinds of illegal goods and services. The site made for a simple way to find products and services, and transact the money in secret. The site had close to one million registered users, according to the FBI.

“Based on my training and experience, Silk Road has emerged as the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet today,” FBI Special Agent Christopher Tarbell said in the complaint, according to CNN Money.

Silk Road was operated on the anonymous network known as Tor, making activity on the site almost untraceable. The only form of money accepted on Silk Road was the digital currency bitcoin, adding an additional layer of anonymity.

The site’s creator, Ross William Ulbricht, A.K.A. “Dread Pirate Roberts” and “DPR,” 29, of San Francisco, California, has been charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, attempted witness murder and using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.

The indictment was returned on October 1, 2013, and unsealed on Wednesday upon the arrest of Ulbricht.

If convicted, Ulbricht faces a maximum of 40 years in prison for the drug distribution conspiracy; a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for attempted witness murder; and a maximum of 10 years in prison for using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.

Ulbricht was scheduled to have an initial appearance on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California. No court appearance in Maryland has been scheduled.

Ulbricht also faces related charges in the Southern District of New York.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore Office; the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division; the United States Secret Service – Baltimore Field Office; and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office. Assisting in the investigation were the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Southern District of New York and the Northern District of Illinois; the FBI; and the U.S. Department of Justice Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section.

 Silk Road website shut down, Dread Pirate Roberts indicted
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