The FBI has been detailing the activities of the Silk Road website it has shut down following the arrest of its alleged owner.
Run as an anonymous internet marketplace Silk Road openly sold drugs, advice on how to rob cashpoint machines, black market and counterfeiters’ contact lists, guns, and hit men.
The FBI described it as the internet’s biggest criminal marketplace.“Silk Road has emerged as the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet today,” FBI agent Christopher Tarbell said in the criminal complaint.
The site was used by “several thousand drug dealers” to sell “hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs,” he said.
The name named as Silk Road’s owner is Ross William Ulbricht, 29, known online as ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’. He was arrested in San Francisco .
Ulbricht, who holds an advanced degree in chemical engineering, appeared in federal court on Wednesday and a bail hearing was set for Friday.
More than 900,000 registered users of the site bought and sold drugs using the digital currency Bitcoin. In recent media reports about the growing popularity of Bitcoin, the Silk Road website has emerged as part of a darker side to the use of digital currencies.
The value of Bitcoin dropped after the charges were revealed.