Man charged over Silk Road website selling drugs, guns

21 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Right hand man’ of Silk Road 2.0 online black market arrested.

A 26-year-old man has been charged with three counts of conspiracy for his alleged role in running Silk Road 2.0, which launched shortly after the demise of the first iteration of the infamous underground market.SEATTLE (AP) — A Washington state man was charged Tuesday with helping run what investigators call one of the most sophisticated and widely used criminal marketplaces on the Internet.Federal agents have arrested a Bellevue man accused of assisting in the management of the so-called “Silk Road 2.0″ website, an illicit Internet market for drugs and other black-market goods. Prosecutors have charged 26-year-old Brian Richard Farrell — who they say went by the name “DoctorClu” — with conspiracy to distribute heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine.

Silk Road was an internet marketplace that dealt in drugs, guns and other seedy inventory, and operated on the deep web, which is a massive portion of the internet that lies outside search-engine indexes. Farrell used the moniker “DoctorClu” and was among a small staff of online administrators and forum moderators who helped with the day-to-day operation of the website, according to a complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. Police say that Ulbricht, using the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts,” helped push illegal drugs and computer hacking services, among other products, that could be purchased with bitcoins. He was scheduled to appear in court late Tuesday, where he was expected to be appointed a federal public defender, said Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Seattle. Farrell is proof that federal law enforcement continues its efforts to root out those who subvert the Internet to set up black markets for illegal goods,” Acting U.S.

That information, Larson added, brought federal agents to a Bellevue residence last July that was tied to motor vehicle records for two people, including Farrell. Ulbricht’s attorney has contended that while Ulbricht created the Silk Road, he left the site but was lured back by the real operators to serve as a fall guy. It offered links to various categories of items for sale, including drugs, weapons, fake identification cards, counterfeit merchandise, stolen credit cards and malicious computer software. The other resident, who is not identified by name in the complaint, was asked about any knowledge of Silk Road during an interview with law enforcement last month, the document reveals.

Although that person dismissed having any intimate knowledge of the underground network, they told authorities that Farrell said “he could get ‘anything’ off the website,” and “obsessively” tracked the package he purchased off the internet. Using the nickname “DoctorClu,” Farrell allegedly approved new staff and vendors and even organized a distributed denial-of-service attack on a competitor.

When it was closed down, federal agents allege it had more than 150,000 active users and was generating at least $8 million a month in sales that sometimes involved kilo-sized quantities of drugs, according to the charges. In the months that followed, agents watched his activities and interviewed a roommate, who said Farrell received UPS, FedEx and postal services packages daily. That led to a search on Jan. 2 that recovered computers, drug paraphernalia, silver bullion bars worth $3,900, and $35,000 in cash, Larson said. “The arrest of Mr. During that interview, Farrell also identified himself as an assistant to “Defcon”—the alias believed to have been used by Benthall, the man authorities arrested in October 2014 on suspicion of running the website’s second incarnate.

Lawyers for Farrell and Benthall did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters on Tuesday.In US District Court for the Southern District of New York, meanwhile, attendees at this week’s proceedings concerning Ulbricht wrote that attorneys for the defense and prosecution spent a large chunk of Tuesday arguing over what evidence can be presented to the jury. Brad Bench, special agent in charge of the Homeland Security Investigations in Seattle, said shutting down hidden websites and bringing their operators to justice is one of his agency’s top priorities.

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