The FBI and Europol claimed they shut down the latest version of the online drug store and arrested its alleged operator. Blake Benthall, 26, was arrested on federal charges related to his allegedly running a new version of Silk Road. This one, just like the original marketplace, is known for letting people buy and sell illegal drugs and other prohibited goods anonymously.
Benthall, aka “Defcon”, is alleged of trying to resurrect Silk Road after its original version was shut down by the FBI back in 2013 and its alleged operator, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested. The latter, by the way, has pleaded not guilty to charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and criminal enterprise, and is currently awaiting trial in January.
It is claimed that Silk Road 2.0, launched a year ago, had already enabled more than 100,000 people to buy and sell illegal drugs online. Both services operated on the Tor network that allows anonymity on the Internet. Since its launch, the reincarnation of the illegal drugs marketplace had facilitated the sale of “hundreds of kilograms of illicit products and services all over the world and to launder millions of dollars”.
American police successfully infiltrated Silk Road 2.0’s support staff by breaching into the restricted areas of the website. This allowed to interact directly with Benthall throughout his operation of the service.
It turned out that Benthall used his own email address to communicate with the service provider for the server. The police also discovered that IP addresses obtained from Google and their physical surveillance of the suspect and Defcon’s online activity also tied the suspect to username “Defcon”. Benthall appears to be a former employee of SpaceX, which is a space exploration company founded by PayPal billionaire Elon Musk.