Four ‘Silk Road Traders’ Arrested In The UK

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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So far, eight people across four different countries have been detained in connection with the illegal online marketplace

Four men in the UK have been arrested over their connection with the illegal ‘Dark Web’ marketplace Silk Road, which was shut down by the FBI last week.

According to the BBC, three men in Manchester, and one in Devon were detained on suspicion of drug offences.

The director of the UK’s recently launched National Crime Agency (NCA) had previously said that websites like the Silk Road will be a “key priority” for the organisation and its National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU).

So far, eight people across four different countries have been taken into custody over their activities on the Silk Road site, and more arrests are expected in the future.

Crackdown

Last week, US authorities arrested Ross William Ulbricht, a US citizen who allegedly ran the Silk Road under the alias Dread Pirate Roberts. Before it was shut down, the website, hosted on the anonymous Tor network, was used to sell everything from drugs and weapons to malware, forged documents and stolen credit card details.

JingaFollowing Ulbricht’s arrest, it was only a matter of time before law enforcement agencies around the world started analysing data obtained from the Silk Road servers. Steven Lloyd Sadler from Seattle, who allegedly sold Class A drugs to hundreds of customers online under the alias “NOD”, was the first to be detained. Next, two men in Helsingborg, Sweden were arrested for allegedly selling cannabis on the website.

“It is impossible for criminals to completely erase their digital footprint. No matter how technology-savvy the offender, they will always make mistakes,” NCA’s director general Keith Bristow told the BBC.

It is thought that Ulbricht was identified because he failed to heed his own advice and did not always encrypt his communications. Court documents also suggest the site administrator accessed the Tor server from a connection at an Internet café.

During Ulbricht’s arrest, The FBI confiscated 26,000 bitcoins, worth approximately $3.6 million – the largest ever seizure of virtual currency. However, they are still looking for another 600,000 bitcoins worth around $80 million that Ulbricht himself is believed to have amassed while running the Silk Road.

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