Federal investigators have confirmed that another arrest has taken place in connection with black market website Silk Road 2.0.
Acting US attorney Annette Hayes announced that Brian Richard Farrell, 26, was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of being a “key administrator” of Silk Road 2.0 under the pseudonym “Doctor Clu”.
Farrell’s arrest comes two months after Blake Benthall, the alleged leader of Silk Road 2.0 was arrested by federal authorities on counts of conspiring to commit drug trafficking, computer hacking, dealing in fraudulent documents and a count of money laundering conspiracy.
Farrell, who drew the attention of Homeland Security Investigations agents last July has been charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine.
When the search warrant was served at Farrell’s residence in Seattle, agents seized $35,000 in cash as well as varied drug paraphernalia.
According to the criminal complaint, Farrell was allegedly involved “in activities such as approving new staff and vendors for the website, and organising a denial of service attack on a competitor”.
“The arrest of Mr. Farrell is proof that federal law enforcement continues its efforts to root out those who subvert the Internet to set up black markets for illegal goods.”
Paving the way
The remaining administrators of the service launched its second version, Silk Road 2.0, in November 2013 and it wasn’t long before they started to attract users.
According to the bureau, Silk Road 2.0 generated estimated sales of $8m per month and had approximately 150,000 active users by September 2014.
In May the Digital Citizens Alliance published a study that looked into the emergence of deep web black markets following Silk Road’s demise. It explains that other marketplaces profited after Silk Road shut down, with Black Market Reloaded (BMR) and Sheep Market as key players.
Shortly afterwards, a similar site, Atlantis, closed in what many considered a scam that left it holding customers’ bitcoins. It was around the same time that Silk Road 2.0 sprung into action.
Like its predecessor, it is notorious for being one of the most sophisticated and widely used online marketplaces for illicit products. The site, which operated on the Tor network, was designed to conceal the IP addresses of computers that used it.
- ^ Silk Road 2.0 Seized, Alleged Operator Unmasked in FBI Crackdown (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ FBI (www.fbi.gov)
- ^ Silk Road Trial Begins in New York (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Digital Citizens Alliance (www.digitalcitizensalliance.org)
- ^ a study (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Tor network (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Blake Benthall (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ FBI (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Ross Ulbricht (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Silk Road 2.0 (www.coindesk.com)