An anonymous Internet marketplace for illegal drugs called "Silk Road" has been shut down by the FBI, according to CBC News on Oct. 2, 2013. The alleged owner known as "Dread Pirate Roberts" faces charges of trafficking, money laundering, and computer hacking for his site which sold heroin, cocaine, and even illegal services such as murder for hire.
A sealed complaint filed by the FBI announced that Ross William Ulbricht was arrested on Tuesday afternoon and Silk Road was officially shut down after being seized. A banner was put up by the FBI stating as much.
Silk Road has been the go-to online black market for illegal products and services since it started back in 2011. The site had 957,079 users and all of the transactions could be done in secret.
"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.
An anonymous network known as Tor operated Silk Road before it was shut down, and all activity on the site was made virtually untraceable. Bitcoins were the only acceptable currency on Silk Road.
Over the course of the past two and a half year, the FBI states that Silk Road generated revenue that was worth more than 9.5 billion bitcoins. On Wednesday, that amount of bitcoins was valued at $1.3 billion.
Wednesday's news of the bust and Silk Road shut down caused bitcoins value to plummet from a high of $141 to $120.
During its investigation, the FBI used Silk Road to buy heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and cocaine. They also purchased computer hacking software from more than 100 users. It was an investigation like this that ultimately led to the capture of Ulbricht.
The FBI intercepted communication sent from Ulbricht's account that showed someone in Canada trying to extort $500,000 from the Silk Road operator and threatening to expose a number of site users. Ulbricht ended up paying $150,00 to have the person killed.
Ulbricht was arrested on Tuesday afternoon at the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library.