CA - Ross Ulbricht & others for Silk Road online drug market, San Francisco, 2014

Discussion in 'Crimes in the News' started by shadowraiths, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. shadowraiths

    shadowraiths LISK Liaison, Verified Forensic Psychology Special Staff Member Moderator

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    [​IMG]

    Federal authorities have charged a man with running Silk Road, a popular online black market for drugs.

    The authorities identified the man as Ross Ulbricht, who was arrested by F.B.I. agents Tuesday afternoon at a library in San Francisco. Court papers filed in the case in Manhattan accuse him of engaging in a “massive money-laundering” operation and of trying to arrange a murder-for-hire. Mr. Ulbricht is to appear in federal court on Wednesday in San Francisco.

    Mr. Ulbricht solicited a Silk Road user “to execute a murder-for-hire of another Silk Road user, who was threatening to release the identities of thousands of users of the site,” according to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday morning. Authorities also seized the Silk Road Web site.

    [​IMG]

    New York Times: link
    Complaint: pdf
     
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  3. i.b.nora

    i.b.nora I am polka dot

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    I do think this is an incredibly interesting story. Reading the complaint is very informative. Here is a local story on the arrest:

    http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Alleged-online-drug-kingpin-arrested-at-SF-library-4863306.php

    Alleged online drug kingpin arrested at SF library
    Henry K. Lee
    Updated 1:25 pm, Wednesday, October 2, 2013

    "The alleged mastermind behind the online drug marketplace known as Silk Road - previously known only by the pseudonym "Dread Pirate Roberts" - was arrested in a San Francisco library on federal drug and computer hacking charges as well as for allegedly trying to hire a hit man, authorities said Wednesday.

    Ross Ulbricht, 29, was taken into custody at the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday. He had a laptop in his possession at the time, said Kelly Langmesser, an FBI spokeswoman in New York.

    The FBI said Ulbricht ran Silk Road from San Francisco, where he had been living for the past year, including at an Internet cafe not far from his Hayes Valley home. They said that since at least 2011, he has generated tens of millions of dollars in commissions by facilitating the sale of heroin, cocaine and LSD on an underground website that he himself once referred to as an "anonymous Amazon.com."

    More...

    Momi Toby's is an internet cafe on Laguna Street near Hickory Street. The Glen Park branch of the library is about 200 feet or less from the nearby Bart Station which is a major hub of transportation. It would be a perfect place to connect to the Internet from.
     
  4. LadyL

    LadyL Well-Known Member

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    well well, guess he doesn't feel so anonymous anymore
     
  5. shadowraiths

    shadowraiths LISK Liaison, Verified Forensic Psychology Special Staff Member Moderator

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    The Terrifying Fallout (for drug dealers) Of The Silk Road Shutdown

    [​IMG]

    Silk Road, the internet’s largest black market, has been shut down. But its founder isn’t the only one in serious trouble — small-time drug dealers, saddled with sudden debts, are now in over their heads.

    In order to buy something on Silk Road, you first have to transfer funds to your account. Since these funds are Bitcoins, and since Bitcoin transfers are final and permanent, any money held in a Silk Road account is no longer available to the users who deposited it. For most users, this is an annoyance:

    [...]

    For others, some of whom are congregating on Reddit’s Silk Road forum, the situation is more dire.

    [...]

    Just a reminder that, as silly as buying and selling drugs on Tor with Bitcoins sounds, it’s still buying and selling drugs. Silk Road has processed hundreds of millions of dollars in orders in a virtual currency, so expect the ripple effects of this shutdown will be massive.

    [​IMG]

    link
     
  6. i.b.nora

    i.b.nora I am polka dot

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    This is an interesting and informative article from June 2011 (over 2 years ago). Its focus is on the use of Bitcoins specifically in relation to Silk Road.

    http://kotaku.com/the-underground-website-where-you-can-buy-any-drug-imag-30818160

    "Making small talk with your pot dealer sucks. Buying cocaine can get you shot. What if you could buy and sell drugs online like books or light bulbs? Now you can: Welcome to Silk Road."

    "Getting to Silk Road is tricky. The URL seems made to be forgotten. But don't point your browser there yet. It's only accessible through the anonymizing network TOR, which requires a bit of technical skill to configure."

    "To purchase something on Silk Road, you need first to buy some Bitcoins using a service like Mt. Gox Bitcoin Exchange. Then, create an account on Silk Road, deposit some bitcoins, and start buying drugs. One bitcoin is worth about $8.67, though the exchange rate fluctuates wildly every day. Right now you can buy an 1/8th of pot on Silk Road for 7.63 Bitcoins. That's probably more than you would pay on the street, but most Silk Road users seem happy to pay a premium for convenience."

    "... Silk Road's administrator cites the anarcho-libertarian philosophy of Agorism. "The state is the primary source of violence, oppression, theft and all forms of coercion," Silk Road wrote to us. "Stop funding the state with your tax dollars and direct your productive energies into the black market."

    "Silk Road and Bitcoins could herald a black market eCommerce revolution. But anonymity cuts both ways. How long until a DEA agent sets up a fake Silk Road account and starts sending SWAT teams instead of LSD to the addresses she gets? As Silk Road inevitably spills out of the bitcoin bubble, its drug-swapping utopians will meet a harsh reality no anonymizing network can blur."

    "Update: Jeff Garzik, a member of the Bitcoin core development team, says in an email that bitcoin is not as anonymous as the denizens of Silk Road would like to believe. He explains that because all Bitcoin transactions are recorded in a public log, though the identities of all the parties are anonymous, law enforcement could use sophisticated network analysis techniques to parse the transaction flow and track down individual Bitcoin users.P

    "Attempting major illicit transactions with bitcoin, given existing statistical analysis techniques deployed in the field by law enforcement, is pretty damned dumb," he says."

    More...

    Remember, this was written over two years ago.
     
  7. Karmady

    Karmady Former Member

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    Super interesting story imo. I've seen references to Silk Road via Tor and was intrigued enough to try to find out more about it a while ago, but didn't have the "fortitude" lol. I'm very glad right at this moment! fwiw, this dude's fb and the fb of his very close friends are suprisingly (or not) up and open. Seems like either a crazy smart hippie kid on a mission or a sociopath -- probably both. jmo
     
  8. i.b.nora

    i.b.nora I am polka dot

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    Who Is Ross Ulbricht? Piecing Together The Life Of The Alleged Libertarian Mastermind Behind Silk Road
    10/02/2013 @ 5:56PM
    Forbes

    "Ross William Ulbricht, 29, was arrested on Tuesday and is alleged to be the "Dread Pirate Roberts" behind Silk Road's drug black market. (Photo: LinkedIn)

    If you ask his family members, Ross William Ulbricht did not seem like a criminal mastermind.

    “He’s an exceptionally bright and smart kid,” said his half-brother Travis Ulbricht. “He’s always been upstanding and never had any trouble with the law that I knew of.”"

    *

    "A Texas native who moved to San Francisco in the fall of 2012, Ulbricht listed himself as an “investment adviser and entrepreneur” on his LinkedIn page, though there is no mention of current employment. He attended the University of Texas at Dallas, where relatives say he was on full scholarship and studied physics. From there, he went on to be a graduate research assistant at Penn State University, earning his Master’s Degree in Materials Science and Engineering with a thesis entitled “Growth of EuO Thin Films By Molecular Beam Epitaxy.”"

    *

    "While at Penn State, Ulbricht was also politically active. A member of the school’s College Libertarians group, he took part in on-campus debates that were documented by the school’s newspaper, The Daily Collegian. In one article from March 2008, Ulbricht is identified as a supporter of Ron Paul who had attempted to become a delegate for the then-presidential candidate at the Republican National Convention."

    Much more...

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanmac...eged-libertarian-mastermind-behind-silk-road/
     
  9. i.b.nora

    i.b.nora I am polka dot

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    Here is the Forbes interview with "Roberts" first published in August of this year. Its really a good article, imo:

    Meet The Dread Pirate Roberts, The Man Behind Booming Black Market Drug Website Silk Road

    "Despite the giant DEA crosshairs painted on his back and growing signs that the feds are probing the so-called “dark Web” that Silk Road and other black market sites inhabit, Roberts spoke with FORBES in his first-ever extended public interview for a reason: As with physical drug dealing, a turf war has emerged. Competitors, namely a newly launched site called Atlantis with a real marketing budget and a CEO with far less regard for his privacy, are stealing Roberts’ spotlight."

    "Roberts also has a political agenda: He sees himself not just as an enabler of street-corner pushers but also as a radical libertarian revolutionary carving out an anarchic digital space beyond the reach of the taxation and regulatory powers of the state–Julian Assange with a hypodermic needle. “We can’t stay silent forever. We have an important message, and the time is ripe for the world to hear it,” says Roberts. “What we’re doing isn’t about scoring drugs or ‘sticking it to the man.’ It’s about standing up for our rights as human beings and refusing to submit when we’ve done no wrong.”

    So much more...

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygre...-booming-black-market-drug-website-silk-road/

    I would think that there are a ton of people who are getting very scared right now.
     
  10. Helper Monkey

    Helper Monkey New Member

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    Most interesting from a WS perspective: page 23 of 39 on the complaint documents messages discussing a hit on an individual threatening to expose customer identities. DPR's response allegedly was "Not long ago, I had a clean hit done for $80k. Are the prices you quoted the best you can do?"

    To be fair, the apparent admission of a prior hit may be little more than haggling on price. OTOH, the hit may be legit and involve a missing / deceased individual already being sleuthed on this site. I wonder.
     
  11. Paul

    Paul New Member

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  12. i.b.nora

    i.b.nora I am polka dot

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    Here is information on the 'clean hit':

    A new charge against Ulbricht now provides details of that “clean hit,” which, as it turns out, was neither clean nor a hit. An indictment from the U.S. District Court in Maryland alleges that, in January 2013, Ulbricht attempted to arrange the murder of a former employee who had recently been arrested by the feds. Unfortunately for him, the “assassin” he tried to hire was an undercover federal agent.

    From:
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/20...ictment_the_alleged_silk_road_mastermind.html

    Here is the indictment for the 'clean hit':

    https://ia601904.us.archive.org/1/items/gov.uscourts.mdd.238311/gov.uscourts.mdd.238311.4.0.pdf
     
  13. LinasK

    LinasK Verified insider- Mark Dribin case

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    Guess the Dread Pirate Roberts won't be finding his Buttercup!
     
  14. linlin

    linlin New Member

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    what I am really wondering about - what happened to his millions?
    as far as I'm concerned, he lived a very modest lilfe, shared a flat with few others etc.
    so, what about the money...
     
  15. Paul

    Paul New Member

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    His income was in a currency called "bitcoins", which is basically internet funny money, not controlled by any government. And right now all of his bitcoins have been siezed.

    Here's a quick explanation about bitcoins:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24381847

    He might have converted some of his bitcoins to dollars and hidden them away somewhere. But I'm sure the investigators are looking into that.
     
  16. i.b.nora

    i.b.nora I am polka dot

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    Silk Road Clones Ensure No One Has To Go A Day Without Drugs
    Posted: 10/03/2013 4:36 pm EDT
    Gerry Smith Huffington Post


    "One day after the FBI shut down Silk Road, the infamous so-called "eBay for drugs," hundreds of vendors and customers who previously used the site scrambled to answer a pressing question: Where do we do business now?

    On Thursday, they met in online forums and swapped links to sites like “Black Market Reloaded,” "DeepBay" and "Sheep Marketplace" as alternative places to buy and sell everything from cannabis and crystal meth to prescription drugs and "uncut Peruvian cocaine.""

    More...

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/03/buy-illeogal-drugs_n_4038653.html?utm_hp_ref=technology
     
  17. i.b.nora

    i.b.nora I am polka dot

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    Federal drug charges for Bellevue man involved in 'Silk Road'
    By Kristen Drew and Associated Press Oct 3, 2013

    BELLEVUE, Wash. - A Bellevue man who sold drugs using an online black market known as Silk Road now faces federal drug charges, Homeland Security agents say.

    According to court documents, 40-year-old Steven Sadler hid his identity using the profile "Nod," and used a fake name to purchase mailboxes at several UPS stores in Washington.

    Sadler sent the drugs through the U.S. Mail, where a drug detection dog alerted authorities to an express mail package. Inside, Post Office inspectors found heroin hidden in a birthday card, and scented markers.

    More... Also the video is good, they are trying to talk to the guy in his parking garage where he lives.

    http://www.komonews.com/news/local/...vue-man-involved-in-Silk-Road-226387671.html?
     
  18. i.b.nora

    i.b.nora I am polka dot

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    Attorney denies California man ran drug website
    Published: October 4, 2013 Updated 34 minutes ago
    The Associated Press


    SAN FRANCISCO — An attorney for a San Francisco man has denied charges that his client operated an encrypted website where users could anonymously shop for drugs such as heroin and LSD.

    Public defender Brandon LeBlanc said in brief remarks after a hearing on Friday that defendant Ross Ulbricht denies all the allegations. He declined further comment.

    *

    Spero granted the request and rescheduled the hearing for Oct. 9. (next wednesday)

    Read more here: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/20...ed-with-online-drug-scheme.html#storylink=cpy
     
  19. Steely Dan

    Steely Dan Former Member

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    Here's a CNN article on this; http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/04/world/americas/silk-road-ross-ulbricht/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

    There is also a video with the article.

    How FBI caught Ross Ulbricht, alleged creator of criminal marketplace Silk Road
    By Tim Hume, CNN
    updated 11:10 AM EDT, Sat October 5, 2013

    (CNN) -- The FBI caught the man accused of creating Silk Road -- the shadowy e-commerce site it describes as "the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet today" -- after he allegedly posted his Gmail address online, according to court documents....
     
  20. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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    More on the bitcoin side of the matter:

    Could the Silk Road Closure Be Good for Bitcoin? (New Yorker)
     
  21. i.b.nora

    i.b.nora I am polka dot

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    Ooh, ooh, ooh!

    4 Silk Road Users Arrested In UK With Millions Of Dollars In Bitcoins Seized
    AP | By RAPHAEL SATTER
    Posted: 10/08/2013 9:25 am EDT


    "LONDON (AP) — U.K. authorities have made four arrests following last week's closure of the notorious black market website known as Silk Road, Britain's National Crime Agency said Tuesday, adding that millions of pounds (dollars) worth of electronic currency had been seized.

    The agency said the bust happened within hours of the arrest in the United States of the alleged Silk Road administrator Ross Ulbricht, suggesting that authorities may now be targeting the network of drug dealers who made fortunes peddling illicit substances from the Internet bazaar.

    The agency's director general Keith Bristow said in a statement that other users of the site would soon feel the heat."

    More, more, more...

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/08/silk-road-arrest-bitcoin_n_4063300.html
     

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