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Crime The Internet United Kingdom

8 Users of Silk Road Arrested, 'Many More To Come' 318

Posted by Soulskill
from the many-people-suddenly-nervous dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last week authorities shut down Silk Road, an online black market that made use of Tor to hide activity. They also arrested the site's primary operator, Ross Ulbricht, and seized his possessions. Now, an AP report indicates at least 8 more arrests have been made on people suspected to have sold drugs through the site. Four of the arrests happened in the U.K., two were in the U.S. and two were in Sweden. It looks like they're gearing up for more arrests, as well. Keith Bristow of Britain's National Crime Agency said, 'These latest arrests are just the start; there are many more to come.' Authorities are reportedly mining the site's customer review system, which contains months worth of transaction data, for further leads."
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8 Users of Silk Road Arrested, 'Many More To Come'

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  • Crime (Score:5, Funny)

    by GrBear (63712) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @08:05AM (#45080321)

    Crime doesn't pay, but the hours are great!

    • Re:Crime (Score:5, Insightful)

      by somersault (912633) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @08:19AM (#45080411) Homepage Journal

      It doesn't pay, but being in some prisons is better than working minimum wage, and definitely better than being homeless.

      • Re:Crime (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @08:30AM (#45080503)

        Speaking of Swedish prison my dad knows a guy who calms it saved his life. How? No alcohol on weekdays. But on the week ends (Swedish prison let most of the prisoners out for weekend) the guy would go drinking with one of the guards. After following this habit for a 2 years. He still no longer drink during week days.

        • Re:Crime (Score:5, Informative)

          by SwedishPenguin (1035756) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @09:22AM (#45080921)

          Swedish prison let most of the prisoners out for weekend

          Err, no, never heard of that. A prisoner can apply for "permission" after serving something like a third of his/her time in prison, and then they can leave prison for up to three days at a time (decided by prison administration, or, as in a recently publicized case, by a central agency on appeal), but I don't think any prisoner gets permission every weekend...

      • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

        prisons is better than working minimum wage

        I think you're trying to be cynical about the War on Labor in the US. The few ex-cons I've met over the years never want to go back.

        As a digression, I think irresponsible, corrupt politicians should be turned back into ordinary citizens, subject to hard time, and then forced to work minimum wage for a year when they get out. See how fast things change.

    • Re:Crime (Score:5, Informative)

      by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @08:38AM (#45080573)

      More accurately: Crime is a high-risk career. If you're good at it, the pay is very good. Even just common burglary you can make thousands in one day's work. If you're not good at it though, you make nothing at all and end up in prison.

    • Crime DOES pay, if you give some officials some of it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Hell yes crime pays. Pays extremely well if Wall Street is any indication! Just sayin'
  • by crafty.munchkin (1220528) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @08:08AM (#45080341)
    ... that people used their real names and addresses on Silk Rd as sellers, and expected to never get busted in the process.
    • maybe those were real addresses... but not of the real guys on silk road

      • by Threni (635302)

        One more reason not to run Tor exit nodes or open Wifi points...

        • by Qzukk (229616)

          Yeah, sure, because the first thing the cops check for when they're told 5523 south 43rd street is selling drugs is whether they've got wireless or not.

          If you're lucky, they bothered to double check the address so they don't kick in your door at 5532 with a no-knock warrant, unannounced, guns blazing.

          • Yeah, sure, because the first thing the cops check for when they're told 5523 south 43rd street is selling drugs is whether they've got wireless or not.

            If you're lucky, they bothered to double check the address so they don't kick in your door at 5532 with a no-knock warrant, unannounced, guns blazing.

            5532 south 43rd, isn't that Harry Buttle's place?

            • by mackil (668039)

              5532 south 43rd, isn't that Harry Buttle's place?

              ohhhh big points for getting a Brazil [imdb.com] reference in there!

    • by Imrik (148191)

      I don't know about all of them, but for the arrests I heard about they didn't. They had to use information from both inside and outside silk road to match people to their identities online.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @08:22AM (#45080437)

        I believe for the pair in Bellevue, they stupidly used their own return address on their packages, which was a PO Box. The smarter sellers use real addresses of random businesses which should be totally safe. Obviously many sellers weren't so smart or simply became complacent.

    • by jonbryce (703250) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @08:16AM (#45080397) Homepage

      You need to use a real address if you want to buy stuff, and in the UK at least, you don't need to have that much before it is "possession with intent to supply". People could have been buying wholesale on Silk Road and selling it on the street, and even if they weren't, if the quantities were more than about a day's supply they would get charged with that anyway.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This is true, but considering from the standpoint of police resources, they are going to go after the sellers and big buyers first. There are literally thousands of people who ordered an ounce or two of pot or a few molly pills every once in a while; they don't have the time to dedicate to that, even if it's technically a crime.

        There is no fame and glory in busting a kid who ordered pot online, whereas there will be headlines if they bring down the big sellers. Busting the sellers is how they can go around

        • by DrXym (126579)
          Well quite. I expect the US cops presented their counterparts in various countries with a large list of suspected customers / sellers and they went after the low hanging fruit. Maybe these people were known to police already and the logs gave them cause to arrest them. Although the charge would still have to be proven and even the most blatant dealer could beat the charge assuming they had practiced operational security (e.g. ensuring all the illegal activity and the bitcoin wallet all lived in a shadow vol
        • by jythie (914043)
          Ah, but there is fame and glory for arresting low hanging fruit attached to a high profile case. I would wager that the big sellers/buyers cover their tracks better, but a few inexperienced people working in small volumes who make mistakes and are easier to identify make great headlines.

          If you can not get big fish, hyping up small ones can be just as good and a lot less work/risk.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      I doubt they had any personal information on the site. I suspect they failed to launder their bitcoins sufficienty.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @08:12AM (#45080375)

    Instead of weed, package contained SWAT team.

    Would not buy again.

    (with apologies to xkcd)

  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @08:16AM (#45080391) Homepage Journal
    that this isn't a failure of the technology. Ulbricht made the mistake of allowing the feds to connect the dots. Silk Road apparently kept some kind of logs. Here's hoping you didn't buy from them.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @08:20AM (#45080421)

      It's an important reminder that it only takes one mistake to get caught, and it doesn't even need to be your own mistake.

      • by pellik (193063)
        If sellers allowed useful contact information to reach Silk Road at all it's their mistake they get caught. Being on Tor doesn't guarantee any kind of anonymity, but those who follow best practice (open wifi, clean browser, clean OS, etc.) for illicit behavior are almost certainly fine right now.
    • by Aguazul2 (2591049)

      Buyers are not much at risk. It is the sellers they are after.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        the sellers have much needed bitcoin to confiscate. the federal government needs funding, ya know.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        I imagine big buyers will be targets as well. Sure someone who just bought a few grams here or there is fine, but there might have been people moving real weight and replacing traditional suppliers this way.

        Those folks are screwed.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Hatta (162192)

        Buyers are the low hanging fruit. They're the ones who actually needed to provide a physical address somewhere along the way.

      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @12:49PM (#45082671) Homepage Journal

        Buyers are not much at risk. It is the sellers they are after.

        Bullshit, they're after everyone. My friend's brother spent five years in Federal prison, as well as half his high school graduating class. His crime? A guy he'd gone to high school with called him needing $1000 so he could get a lawyer -- he'd been busted for selling cocaine. He said he'd pay him back double in a week.

        Mike's brother and twenty or more other people were convicted for "conspiracy to distribute cocaine." All of them spent five years in prison, except that guy who was actually selling drugs who spent only two for helping the feds prosecute innocent men, and few if any of them had anything whatever to do with drugs.

        They don't care that you're innocent, [innocenceproject.org] they want you in prison. You don't even have to be a buyer to go to prison for dope, just loan the wrong person money.

    • by lxs (131946)

      If you're really paranoid you could suggest that TOR is broken and they watched the guy from early on until they had a plausible non-TOR reason to "discover" him. After investing loads of resources into breaking TOR, would you want to throw all that away on a single bust?

      • I completely agree and I don't think it is being paranoid, I think it is the logical conclusion at this point given all of the information out there. TOR is too high-value if it is compromised to reveal that for 1 big drug bust. I think people forget that the NSA also has access to essentially all backbone traffic in the western hemisphere. This would allow them to analyze "meta-data" for all traffic to and from every entry and exit node even IF they had not directly compromised any of them. Using timi
    • by TheCarp (96830)

      I remember checking out silk road back when it started (I think there were under 300 transactions at the time). I browsed around a bit and was amused... wondered who had the brass balls to order bulk heroin shipped to them from pakistan.

      Even at the time I noticed something... I noticed one guy with the same name as the site name "Silk Road" and he was selling one product: Mushrooms. I said a few times to people I knew that if someone wanted to find the guy behind silk road, he should look at the shroomery f

    • by rmstar (114746) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @10:14AM (#45081313)

      this isn't a failure of the technology.

      Not directly. Indirectly, it helped create a nice big honeypot where now lots of people got caught. This is not unlike the childporn exchanges on the tor network. Pervs flock to these sites, and create a big juicy target for law enforcement.

      You have to realize that it is far more cost effective for law enforcement to break silk road and get the adresses of lots of dealers than to chase them one by one. It is so cost effective that they can use a well funded crack team (no pun intended) to do it.

      So in a way, this technology is in fact helping law enforcement.

  • by MRe_nl (306212) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @08:22AM (#45080431)

    Let's focus on recreational drugs!
    It's as if we don't want peoples attention on the real criminals.

    Sociopath plutocrats and their dogs.
    http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats [globalissues.org]

    • Well, obviously we got to focus on small time criminals. If the police would arrest all the investment bankers, then the whole world will be back in a depression again...
    • by Shavano (2541114)

      These guys are also murderers. Still not interested?

      • by TheCarp (96830)

        You mean the murder that didn't happen? Fact is the only reason there was any attempt at murder was the result of blackmail attempts. Blackmail which was only enabled by the laws in the first place. It was the law that created the extreme situation where he could be blackmailed with no effective legal recourse. Silk road itself wouldn't even exist but for their stupid laws. The politicians who brought us this failure of a mess take full responsibility in my eyes for creating this situation.... again and aga

  • So... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @08:22AM (#45080435) Journal
    Anybody interesting and hilariously anti-drug in public life on the list yet, or do those get filtered out before they send in the jackboots?
    • Surely bearing in mind Silk Road was a website they will send in the Jackbots :D
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bob9113 (14996) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @09:20AM (#45080913) Homepage

      Anybody interesting and hilariously anti-drug in public life on the list yet, or do those get filtered out before they send in the jackboots?

      I think it goes a little like this:

      DEA Agent: So, I hear you are opposed to warrantless surveillance.
      Junior Senator: Umm, yes?
      DEA Agent: And my undertstanding is that recently you've been reconsidering your position.
      Junior Senator: No, I haven't.
      DEA Agent: See this post we have here from Silk Road where you say that BC Chronic made The Simpsons funny again?
      Junior Senator: What I meant to say was, I believe warrantless surveillance is a vital and necessary tool in our war on violent extremism.
      DEA Agent: I thought so.

  • Weaver said in an email, while the traceable nature of bitcoin transfers means the FBI "can now easily follow the money."

    WTF I thought part of the point of Bitcoin was it's bloody difficult to trace!!

    • by Zironic (1112127)

      No, Bitcoin was never designed to be hard to trace, in fact Bitcoin by design is easy to trace.

    • by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @08:42AM (#45080599)

      Weaver said in an email, while the traceable nature of bitcoin transfers means the FBI "can now easily follow the money."

      WTF I thought part of the point of Bitcoin was it's bloody difficult to trace!!

      I find all money difficult to trace .... my wife takes it and I see not race of it again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No. Bitcoin is by design traceable to ensure a transactions integrity -- one can create an arbitrary address, but money will have to be transferred in and transferred out in order to be useful. Both transactions will have records located forever in the blockchain indicating source, destination, and date. All are required to insure integrity of the transaction. Bitcoin was designed to be free from arbitrary manipulation of its value, not true anonymity.

    • by SirGarlon (845873)
      The problem with blind faith in cryptography is that cryptographic protocols are bloody difficult to get right. In the case of Bitcoin, the anonymity weakness seems to have more to do with the marketplace [bitcoin.it] than the coins themselves.
  • Crime rule #1. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by goodmanj (234846) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @08:49AM (#45080671)

    Crime rule #1: If you're going to do crime, don't do crime with anyone you haven't known since high school. Doing crime with random strangers over the Internet is just fcking stupid.

  • by hessian (467078) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @09:16AM (#45080885) Homepage Journal

    I would like to be able to purchase my drugs anonymously, but since I'm paying Silk Road a percentage, I'd like some kind of guarantee.

    Some kind of accountability, in other words.

    How to balance the two? They don't balance. Even if the only accountability is a seller's good name, there must be some kind of linked identification which, over time, provides enough information to find the individual and arrest them.

  • how this will affect bitcoins in the long run. There was a bit of a fall...but will BTC now be deemed more legit or will all this work as an incentive to make it outright illegal?
    Hope it works out for all those people with their Terahash ASIC machine buying plans.
  • And the statists who know better than the rest of us are running the show.
  • I call bullshit. Does anyone know anyone this really happened to? Pics or it never happened.
  • You see, you are supposed to use the new Obamacare Healthcare.gov site to get your officialized care plan and see one of our approved drug advisors (psychiatrists), who will then vouch for you to purchase some meth from government licensed drug dealers. Providing profits to those major drug cartels willing to donate to the political campaigns of our politicians (Pfizer, Bayer, etc.)

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