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FBI Shut Down Drugs And Hitman Hiring Website

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The FBI has shut down an online black market used to buy drugs and hire hitmen, arresting the mastermind in the process.

29 year old Ross William Ulbricht is accused of “controlling and overseeing all aspects” of hidden website Silk Road, as well as plotting to kill another person who was trying to extort money from him.

Ulbricht, known as Dread Pirate Roberts on the site, is also charged with drug trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering arising from his enterprise which he established to “abolish the use of coercion and aggression against mankind.”

The website used a privacy-protecting network and digital currency to shield the identities of buyers and sellers worldwide.

Authorities seized approximately $3.6m (£2.2m) worth of Bitcoins , the largest-ever seizure of the digital currency as they shut the site down and dealt a hammer blow to the American drug trade.

The FBI said Silk Road, which was founded in 2011, was used by thousands of drug dealers to sell hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs.

The website allowed users to anonymously browse through nearly 13,000 listings under categories such as cannabis, stimulants and forgeries before making purchases with Bitcoins.

Undercover agents made more than 100 purchases of LSD, ecstasy, heroin and other drugs offered on the site prior to shutting it down.

Services for sale on Silk Road included hacking into accounts at Twitter, Facebook or other social networks and tutorials for cracking cash points.

Guns and hitmen were also available in 10 countries.

Ulbricht himself is accused of using the services of a hitman on Silk Road this year.

The Texas native allegedly told an undercover investigator posing as a drug dealer he would pay him to “beat up” a former employee he believed had stolen money from Silk Road.

Later Ulbricht wrote to ask whether he could “change the order to execute rather than torture” and agreed to make two payments of $40,000 (£24,000) each to get the job done, according to authorities.

In Silk Road’s community forums, the Dread Pirate Roberts always made the libertarian underpinnings of his organization clear. In Oct. 2012, he noted in a post: “Silk Road was founded on libertarian principles and continues to be operated on them … The same principles that have allowed Silk Road to flourish can and do work anywhere human beings come together. The only difference is that the State is unable to get its thieving murderous mitts on it.”

Recent figures show that there were nearly one million registered users of the site, with people from the UK, Germany and elsewhere among them.

Federal authorities shut the site down and arrested Ulbricht on Tuesday at a public library in San Francisco.

Ulbricht, who made more than $80 million in commission from running the site, did not enter a plea to any of the charges when he appeared in court on Wednesday in San Francisco.

Ulbricht , whose Linked In account classes him as an investment and entrepreneur adviser is due back in San Francisco federal court on Friday to discuss bail and his transfer to New York, where most of the charges have been filed.

The raid on Wednesday was not the first time the US government has made arrests related to Silk Road.

Earlier this year, authorities in South Carolina arrested Eric Daniel Hughes, who used Silk Road under the name Casey Jones, and charged him in state court with drug possession.

 

 

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