Silk Road shut down after its mastermind made a rookie error. The FBI in San Francisco arrested Ross William Ulbricht, 29. According to CBS News on Oct. 3, the man known as "Dread Pirate Roberts" gave out his real name and email address.
While seeking tech help for his site, he used his personal email and gave his real name.
Silk Road shut down happened when Federal agents caught up with Ulbricht at the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library. He was discovered in the science fiction stacks working on a laptop.
The hidden website Silk Road shut down was part of an investigation initiated by the FBI's Southern District of New York. Access to the site was enabled through an encrypted connection using software known as Tor. Bitcoin, an anonymous virtual currency, facilitated transactions. It is thought that $1.2 billion of transactions flowed through the site, which generated an estimated $80 million in commissions. The Washington Post reported the incident that led authorities to his whereabouts.
Federal authorities identified Ulbricht, believed to be the person Silk Road users know as Dread Pirate Roberts, after a routine border search of a package that contained nine counterfeit IDs. The package was shipped from Canada to an address in San Francisco. When the government visited the San Francisco address, they found Ulbricht.
It sounds like Ulbricht was making plans to disappear himself soon, so the feds probably knew they need to move fast. Ulbricht also allegedly ordered hits on two perceived enemies of his operation. One vendor on the site known as FriendlyChemist claimed to have hacked the names and addresses of sellers on the sit. He then threatened to release them publicly. The indictment claims that Ulbricht paid $150,000 to have him killed, but no victim was found to date. Last year Ulbricht allegedly paid $80,000 to torture and kill a former employee who had stolen Bitcoins from his operations according to SFGate.
In February, the agent sent staged photographs of the employee being tortured and a picture of the purported dead body, prosecutors said.
Move over Heisenberg, the street name of Bryan Cranston's Walter White character on "Breaking Bad," the parallels between this story and the show are very interesting. True fans of the show will remember that interestingly $80 million dollars was the amount contained in the 7 barrels of cash that represented the net proceeds of his meth cooking empire. And he lost all but one in the end to a gang of murderous white supremacists who also carried out two hits that he paid for. God thing the FBI was on to him after his “Better call Saul” move to become permanently hidden was completed.
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