United States and European law enforcement agencies are on a hunting spree nowadays as around 17 individuals have been arrested so far for their alleged involvement in illegal underground marketplace operations. The website Silk Road 2.0 and its operator have also been brought under the hammer as the FBI has not only seized the “darknet” marketplace but also arrested its founder and operator Blake Benthall.
Silk Road 2, an alternative to the notorious online illegal-drug marketplace that went dark in October of 2013, has been seized in a joint action involving the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and European law enforcement.
The arrest comes almost a year after the arrest of a San Francisco man Ross William Ulbricht, also known as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” — the alleged founder of the dark Web online drug bazaar “Silk Road” that generated $8 million in monthly sales and attracted 150,000 vendors and customers. At that time, FBI seized the notorious site, but the very next month, a nearly identical site, Silk Road 2.0, opened for business.
The Feds and the US Department of Justice claim 26-year-old Blake Benthall launched the notorious Silk Road 2.0 on Nov. 6, 2013, five weeks after the shutdown of the original Silk Road website and arrest of its alleged operator.
Benthall appeared Thursday afternoon in federal court before Magistrate Judge Jaqueline Scott Corley, where Assistant US Attorney Kathryn Haun told the judge that Benthall is a “severe flight risk,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
According to FBI statement, in mid-October the site had 13,000 listings for selling controlled substances such as different form of opiates, cannabis and ecstasy. Manhattan Attorney for United States Preet Bharara states that arresting Benthall is an attempt to send a clear message to those who are thinking of following his lead.
In the court documents, the website has been described as “one of the most extensive, sophisticated and widely used criminal marketplaces on the internet today.”