FBI Takes Down Silk Road, Alleged Internet Drug Market

'Dread Pirate Roberts' faces a slew of charges

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 2, 2013 12:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – The FBI has pulled the plug at least temporarily on a website accused of serving as a sort of Amazon.com for illegal drugs, reports the Verge. Undercover agents reportedly made dozens of purchases on the Silk Road website since late 2011, and the FBI today announced the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht, aka "Dread Pirate Roberts," reports Reuters. He faces a slew of charges, including narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy. Anyone who manages to reach the site is now greeted with an FBI notice announcing that it's been seized.

So what is, or was, Silk Road exactly? Last week, Winston Ross at the Daily Beast provided an in-depth primer. "Silk Road, for the uninitiated, is the eBay of illicit substances, from MDMA to LSD," he writes. It offers legal merchandise, too, but drugs are the main attraction. "Because you have to travel through an encrypted wormhole to get there, and because you have to use a difficult-to-trace, encrypted currency to pay for anything, it’s a relatively safe place to buy drugs." And, a la eBay, sellers are ranked, "a relatively certain way to ensure that the drugs on offer aren’t cut with crap and aren’t going to kill you." Click for his full post.

  (Shutterstock)
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