Scandalous Drug Sale Website Reaches The End After Selling To Teen Drug Users
Silk Road, the website that became an Amazon.com for online drug deals, reached its inglorious end. Visitors to Silk Road could buy and sell illegal drugs, illicit prescription drugs, weapons and ammunition or make contact with computer hackers. Ross William Ulbricht, who founded the site under the alias Dread Pirate Roberts, had been pursued by the FBI for two years.
“Silk Road” Website Shut Down – Ross William Ulbricht AKA Dread Pirate Roberts Captured
Ulbricht was arrested and the site shut down on October 1. Authorities seized $3.6 million in the virtual money known as bitcoin. Ulbricht, 29, faces a list of felonies including conspiracy to traffic in narcotics, computer hacking, money laundering and solicitation of murder.
Silk Road was launched in 2011 and has served as an Internet clearinghouse for drug deals totaling around $1.2 billion. Ulbricht’s personal take home as middleman on those sales was reported to be $80 million.
Dread Pirate Roberts referred to a masked character in the movie and novel The Princess Bride who, it turned out, was not one man but a series of men, allowing the name to be passed on to the previous holder of the title to retire with his riches. Ulbrict is alleged to have sought out contract killers to assassinate people he disagreed with, posted an email address which contained his name in an online forum and alluded to the illegal operation on his personal LinkedIn account. All of which lead to his capture instead of retiring with his millions.
Ulbricht had everything going for him. He graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas, where he was a physics major on a full scholarship. Later he became a graduate research assistant at Penn State University, earning his Master’s Degree in Materials Science and Engineering and writing a thesis with the title “Growth of EuO Thin Films By Molecular Beam Epitaxy.” But after leaving Penn State he shifted his goals from physics to libertarian principles, viewing the Silk Road website’s forum for conducting illegal transactions as a model of economic theory that, according to his LinkedIn account, would “abolish the use of coercion and aggression against mankind.”
Selling Illegal Drugs To Teenagers Secretly Over Internet
The website and its users employed blocking software which protected identities on both ends from discovery by legal authorities. And he used a virtual currency, bitcoins, to pay for it all. The expertise behind the Silk Road and bitcoins may be admirable, but the application of that knowledge has been anything but.
Ulbricht has said that he is interested in peaceful Eastern religion and starting a family. But what Silk Road allowed was a haven for criminal activity, including the sale of illegal drugs to teenagers. The drugs were sold in secret over the Internet and then delivered by the U.S. postal service. Ulbricht tweeted about the irony, a sort of public thumbing of his nose. But authorities got the last laugh.