Feds Take Down Dark Web’s ‘Silk Road 2.0’

Operating since December 2013, Silk Road 2.0 was brought down this week following a coordinated international law enforcement operation. Dozens of  criminal market websites buried in the Dark Web which offered a range of illegal goods and services for sale on the Tor network were seized by the federal government and Silk Road 2.0’s proprietor arrested.

The seizure of these dark market websites, including Silk Road 2.0, were the result of an extensive investigation since November 2013 by Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), FBI and law enforcement agencies of approximately 16 foreign nations working under the umbrella of EUROPOL’s European Cybercrime Center (EC3) and Eurojust.

The seizures of the illicit Dark Web marketplaces Thursday followed the arrest Wednesday of Blake Benthall, aka “Defcon,” for his alleged role in operating the Silk Road 2.0 website, which went live in December 2013 not long after the original Silk Road was busted by the Feds in November.

Since its launch in November, Silk Road 2.0 was used by thousands of drug dealers and other unlawful vendors to distribute hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services to buyers throughout the world, as well as to launder millions of dollars generated by these unlawful transactions," the criminal complaint alleged. As of September 2014, Silk Road 2.0 was generating sales of at least approximately $8 million per month.

"This action constitutes the largest law enforcement action to date against criminal websites operating on the Tor network, a special network of computers on the Internet designed to conceal the true IP addresses of the computers on the network,” jointly announced HSI Executive Associate Director Peter Edge, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division Leslie R. Caldwell, US Attorney of the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara and George Venizelos, assistant director in charge of the FBI New York.

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