Ross William Ulbricht saw his Silk Road drug website unraveled by Federal agents yesterday . The online marketplace for illicit drugs boasted more than 95,000 registered users who purchased over $1 billion worth of cocaine, heroin, Ecstasy, LSD, opiod pills and other drugs, as well as lab supplies, paraphernalia, digital goods, weaponry and “other services.” It was also was deemed to be “the most sohisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the internet today,” according to FBI agent Christopher Tarbell.
Although based in San Francisco, Ulbricht, 29, who called himself “Dread Pirate Roberts,” was charged by Department of Justice in New York with narcotics trafficking conspiracy, money laundering and computer hacking conspiracy. They also stated that he had “solicited a Silk Road user to execute-for-hire another Silk Road customer, and was threatening to release the names and other personal information of other online users.”
Authorities had struggled for more than two years to track the location of the site’s servers, because it could only be accessed using Tor encryption software, which allows users to surf the web anonymously by hiding computers’ IP addresses. In addition, Ulbricht used Bitcoin digital currency so purchases could not be traced back to customers.
Although the FBI declined to elaborate on how they finally caught up with him, court documents did mention that agents got lucky after US Customs and Border Patrol seized a package of (appearently) forged documents featuring his photograph at the Canadian border.
“He slipped up and made a mistake. This is inevitable,” stated one of the agents involved.