The Federal Bureau of Investigations have seized a webpage called “Silk Road” because it was considered one of the most active websites on the Internet for selling drugs and other illicit goods and services. Along with this, the FBI has arrested the drug website’s alleged founder, Ross William Ulbricht, in San Francisco, who reportedly has over 26,000 Bitcoins worth at least $3 million.
The Bureau used information collected from an Internet company in the investigation and worked with US Customs and Border Patrol, the IRS, the DEA, and the Department of Homeland Security.
Ross William Ulbrichat, who is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Materials, Science and Engineering, was charged with one count each of conspiracy, computer hacking, narcotics trafficking, and laundering money according to the police report.
The “Silk Road” website, which has been in business since sometime in 2011, also gave tutorials on how to get into ATM’s, had contact lists for black market meet-ups and counterfeiters, and also offered guns and hit men for a price.
The webpage was only available on “The Onion Router”, which is a secret web browser that allows only specific sites to operate there, and therefore it was able to keep out of reach of authorities by rerouting Internet connections through many different layers of the web to make any identification difficult.
Ulbricht allegedly wanted to hire one “Silk Road” user on March 28 to kill another user who was threatening to go to police and give names of many thousands of users of the website, court papers state.
The FBI also cites one of Ulbricht’s social media profiles which points out his motivation in operating the drug cartel from his website. It stated that he enjoyed learning and using theoretical points to better learn about the world around him. Therefore, that made him decide to study physics in college and also work as a scientist for over five years. He published what he found in peer followed journals numerous times during that period. He explained his main goal during this time in his life was to enlarge the frontier of human knowledge.
His bio then continued that his goals shifted and that he wanted to use economic ideas as a way to destroy oppression between mankind. He stated he thought violence from one person against another should be stopped immediately. He also said the biggest systemic use of force was among various national governments and institutions. He wrote that the ideal way to change any sort of government was to change the minds and ideas of the people who are being led. So he said he was going to give the world a first-hand experience of what it would be like to live without the systemic use of any type of force. So he made his webpage.
That website performed transactions using a form of digital currency called Bitcoins which is anonymous. It is virtual currency that has also been adopted by criminals to hide payment transactions. The method has become the principal way to exchange currency online. But it is very unstable. Just by the news of this one website closing, the value of the currency Bitcoin has dropped over 20 percent.
In the last few months, authorities from many federal agencies charged numerous other people who were also believed to be loosely linked to “Silk Road” and had a money-laundering operation which was described as nearing the $6 billion market. They dealt in everything from stolen identities to child pornography.
This has been some hit for cybercrime, law enforcement officials say. The FBI is working hard to deal with the rampant internet crime which exists, and hope to arrest more drug website founders.
Written by: Kimberly Ruble