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Old 10-02-2013, 07:21 PM   #1
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Default Online drug market Silk Road seized by the FBI, owner arrested

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The FBI has announced the arrest of the suspected operator of the Silk Road - a clandestine online marketplace for drugs and other illegal items.

A spokeswoman said that Ross William Ulbricht was arrested "without incident" by its agents at a public library in San Francisco on Tuesday.

She added he had been charged with conspiracy to traffic narcotics.

The FBI said it has also seized approximately $3.6m (£2.2m) worth of bitcoins - a virtual currency.

The agency described it as the biggest Bitcoin seizure to date.

The Silk Road is now offline - those trying to access it are presented with a notice saying the site has been seized. Users had previously been able to access the service through Tor - an anonymous web browsing system that requires special software.

Mr Ulbricht made an initial appearance at San Francisco federal court where a bail hearing was set for Friday.

In addition to the narcotics trafficking allegation he also faces charges of computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy, according to court filings.

"From in or about January 2011, up to and including September 2013, the Silk Road Hidden Website... has served as an online marketplace where illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services have been regularly bought and sold by the site's users," state court papers filed in the Southern District of New York.

"The complainant further alleges, in part, that the Silk Road Hidden Website is designed to facilitate the illicit commerce hosted on the site by providing anonymity to its users, by operating on what is known as The Onion Router or Tor network... and by requiring all transactions to be paid in bitcoins, an electronic currency designed to be as anonymous as cash."

It adds that Mr Ulbricht - who is alleged to have gone by the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts - had generated sales of more than $1.2bn via the Silk Road.

The FBI believes he took cuts ranging from between 8% to 15% and was subsequently involved in a money laundering operation to hide the activity.

Blackmail

A second document alleges that private communications recovered from the Silk Road's computer server suggested the suspect had been willing to pursue violent means to defend his interests.

It said that messages sent in March and April indicated he had "solicited a murder-for-hire" of a Canadian Silk Road user nicknamed FriendlyChemist who had tried to extort money by threatening to release the identities of thousands of the site's users.
FBI notice It is no longer possible to access the Silk Road's website

Subsequent messages indicated he had been sent a photograph of the victim after paying $150,000 to have the blackmailer killed.

"I've received the picture and deleted it. Thank you again for your swift action," Mr Ulbricht is alleged to have written to an assassin.

However, the court documents note that Canadian law enforcers have said there was no record of a homicide taking place in White Rock, British Columbia at the time.

Publicity drive

The court documents described Mr Ulbricht, 29, as a former physics student at the University of Texas, who had gone on to study at the University of Pennsylvania between 2006 and 2010.

It was here, according to Mr Ulbricht's LinkedIn profile, as quoted by court documents, that his "'goals' subsequently 'shifted'".

He wrote on the social network that he had wanted to "give people a first-hand experience of what it would be like to live in a world without the systemic use of force" by "institutions and governments".

Authorities said he took to online forums to publicise Silk Road as a potential marketplace for drugs back in January 2011.

In one such message, a user believed to be Mr Ulbricht allegedly said: "Has anyone seen Silk Road yet? It's kind of like an anonymous Amazon.com."

Investigators said he used the same channels months later to recruit help - starting with a search for an "IT pro in the Bitcoin community".

'Shock and disbelief'

Visitors to the discussion site Reddit have reacted to the news on a forum dedicated to Silk Road.

"I'm still in a bit of shock and disbelief," wrote one.

Others expressed anger that money they said they had deposited with the site would now be seized.

Some speculated that copycat sites were likely to appear soon.
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What was the Silk Road?

Silk Road took its name from the historic trade routes spanning Europe, Asia and parts of Africa.

News reports and other internet chatter helped it become notorious. However, most users would not have been able to stumble upon the site as the service could only be accessed through a service called Tor - a facility that routes traffic through many separate encrypted layers of the net to hide data identifiers.

Tor was invented by the US Naval Research Laboratory and has subsequently been used by journalists and free speech campaigners, among others, to safeguard people's anonymity.

But it has also been used as a means to hide illegal activities, leading it to be dubbed "the dark web".

Payments for goods on Silk Road were made with the virtual currency Bitcoin, which can be hard to monitor.

Court documents from the FBI said the site had just under a million registered users, but investigators said they did not know how many were active.

Earlier this year Carnegie Mellon University estimated that over $1.22m (£786,183) worth of trading took place on the Silk Road every month.
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How bitcoins work

Bitcoin is often referred to as a new kind of currency.

But it may be better to think of its units as being virtual tokens that have value because enough people believe they do and there is a finite number of them.

Each of the 11 million Bitcoins currently in existence is represented by a unique online registration number.

These numbers are created through a process called "mining", which involves a computer solving a difficult mathematical problem.

Each time a problem is solved the computer's owner is rewarded with 25 Bitcoins.

To receive a Bitcoin, a user must also have a Bitcoin address - a randomly generated string of 27 to 34 letters and numbers - which acts as a kind of virtual postbox to and from which the Bitcoins are sent.

Since there is no registry of these addresses, people can use them to protect their anonymity when making a transaction.

These addresses are in turn stored in Bitcoin wallets, which are used to manage savings. They operate like privately run bank accounts - with the proviso that if the data is lost, so are the Bitcoins contained.
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Interesting things from the document about the owner's (DPR) arrest so far:

* Cryptography was really good, and the complaint states that the TOR network makes it "practically impossible" to trace users.

* The tumbler worked. It "frustrates attempts to track transactions back to the blockchain and makes it practically impossible to trace users."

* There were 9 MILLION bitcoins worth of transactions that passed through the system over time.

* The server was in a foreign country. The report does not say where.

* There were 957k registered silkroad accounts.

* 146k unique buyer accounts.

* Silkroad maintained a small staff of admins, it wasn't just DPR.

* It is not certain that PGP worked for DPR, they have messages between the staff and DPR from "forensic analysis of the server." Unless he was not using PGP.

* DPR solicited murder for hire. Someone was able to obtain thousands of usernames, passwords, and personal info of silkroad users. It is assumed the feds have this, because they speak about the sample messages of names that the hacker sent. As a result, DPR attempted to have him killed. It is not known if the guy ever was indeed killed.

* The silk road was basically made from the shroomery.com, it was the first place he visited. They traced him by finding his old posts on various forums where he advertised it, not as the owner, just saying "I found this site, what do you think about it?"

* They caught Ross Ulbricht through simple web sleuthing and a few subpoenas.

* He did his web administrating from an internet cafe on Laguna Street in San Fransisco.

* Canada intercepted fake ID's going to his home. This was used to match with fake ID requests.

* For all the money he made, he lived in a small apartment with room mates for under 1000 a month.

* Here is the blockchain transaction for the "hit": http://blockchain.info/en/tx/4a0a5b6...d2fa2a145b5601
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24373759

Well, that sucks, they had a good thing going. Although you can't arrest an idea, so hopefully a new and improved version pops up soon. Thoughts about this and things like Silk Road in general?
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: Online drug market Silk Road seized by the FBI, owner arrested

where am I going to buy my marijuana now
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: Online drug market Silk Road seized by the FBI, owner arrested

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where am I going to buy my marijuana now
Your neighboring country is the weed capital of the world, I'm sure you'll be fine
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: Online drug market Silk Road seized by the FBI, owner arrested

Lock him up and throw away the key.
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:49 PM   #5
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Horrible news. Not that he is going to prison if he really did solicit a hitman, but that the site is gone. Say goodbye to safe, pure drugs and hello to low quality poison.

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Old 10-02-2013, 07:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: Online drug market Silk Road seized by the FBI, owner arrested

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Originally Posted by Gustavo Kuerten View Post
Your neighboring country is the weed capital of the world, I'm sure you'll be fine
I'm talking about my vacations in the states, you didn't think I would take joints with me at the airport did u?

Last edited by motorhead : 10-02-2013 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: Online drug market Silk Road seized by the FBI, owner arrested

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Horrible news. Not that he is going to prison if he really did solicit a hitman, but that the site is gone. Say goodbye to safe, pure drugs and hello to low quality poison.

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Well, they're estimating he made around 80 million dollars, so there's absolutely no way the gap won't be filled. The thing one has to hope for however is that it will be made by like minded people who care about quality and not by folks who want to make fast money.
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: Online drug market Silk Road seized by the FBI, owner arrested

Suddenly...drugs thread

Does MTF have one already? A general drugs thread, that is? Not a news-related one?

Or is that not allowed?
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: Online drug market Silk Road seized by the FBI, owner arrested

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I'm talking about my vacations in the states, you didn't think I would take joints with my at the airport did u?
Go to Colorado or Oregon.
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Online drug market Silk Road seized by the FBI, owner arrested

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Originally Posted by GSMnadal View Post
Suddenly...drugs thread

Does MTF have one already? A general drugs thread, that is? Not a news-related one?

Or is that not allowed?
I don't think so. It might be allowed as long as it's not about experimenting with EPO and other doping
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:39 PM   #11
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Default Re: Online drug market Silk Road seized by the FBI, owner arrested

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Originally Posted by GSMnadal View Post
Suddenly...drugs thread

Does MTF have one already? A general drugs thread, that is? Not a news-related one?

Or is that not allowed?
The only thing that comes close:

http://www.menstennisforums.com/show...ight=marijuana

I don't think the mods would be against one, would they? MTF is pretty liberal.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:41 PM   #12
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Default Re: Online drug market Silk Road seized by the FBI, owner arrested

SweetCleo won't be posting here anymore
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There is also the fallacious argument that a person is "free to express their opinion". This is just a restatement of the mythical "free speech" concept where speech carries no consequences.

The only way something can have no consequences is if it has no effect. The only way something can have no effect is if it doesn't exist. It's completely paradoxical, therefore, to claim that something can exist and simultaneously have no effect.

People are not "free" to express an opinion. Instead, if they choose to express anything, they choose to pay the price. The price is the effect on others and the effect on the person. There is no free lunch in this world.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:41 PM   #13
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Default Re: Online drug market Silk Road seized by the FBI, owner arrested

MTF is as liberal as german nazis
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:41 PM   #14
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Default Re: Online drug market Silk Road seized by the FBI, owner arrested

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SweetCleo won't be posting here anymore
ahahahahaahahaha
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Old 10-04-2013, 06:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: Online drug market Silk Road seized by the FBI, owner arrested

Live in Colorado already, shits easy mode. If you love to smoke or consume Marijuana come here. Also other substances exist here...

I highly doubt anyone in Colorado is effected by this .

Also this was going to come sooner or later. People talk pretty openly about this website and all the Feds needed was to gather enough background information to get the guy.
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