Last year, the FBI raided the notorious online bazaar called the Silk Road and arrested its alleged operator, Ross William Ulbricht. Shortly after the website was removed, Silk Road 2 rose to take its place. Now, one year after its creation, Silk Road 2.0 has been taken down, along with its alleged operator.
As part of a joint effort between the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and European law enforcement, Silk Road 2.0 was hit with a seizure order. In addition, 26-year-old Blake Benthall, the marketplace’s alleged operator, will appear in federal court later today. He is charged with one count of conspiring to commit narcotics trafficking, one count of conspiring to commit computer hacking, one count of conspiring to traffic in fraudulent identification documents, and one count of money laundering conspiracy.
According to the FBI, Benthall had allegedly “controlled and overseen all aspects of Silk Road 2.0” since December 2013, one month after the marketplace’s inception. As far as Silk Road 2.0 itself is concerned, the FBI believes it had around 150,000 active users, with monthly sales averaging $8 million as of September 2014.
Silk Road 2.0 was brought down after a Homeland Security agent went undercover and gained administrative function access while regularly interacting with Benthall. If Benthall is convicted, he faces up to life in prison.