Silk Road Sellers Around The Globe Getting Arrested

from the as-expected dept

This is hardly a huge surprise, but following last week's arrest of the alleged mastermind behind the hidden online market Silk Road, law enforcement agents across the globe have been arresting various Silk Road users (mainly drug dealers). As summarized by Gawker:
  • In Seattle, the FBI arrested 40-year-old Steven Lloyd Sadler in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue. Under the name Nod, Sadler was allegedly one of the Silk Road's favorite dealers of cocaine, heroin and meth. Sadler was busted after one of his customers in Alaska was busted and started cooperating, according to Brian Krebs.
  • In the UK, authorities arrested three men in their 20s and one man in his 50s on drug offenses related to the Silk Road. "More arrests are expected in the coming weeks," according to the BBC.
  • In Sweden, two Helsingborg men were arrested for allegedly selling cannabis on the Silk Road.
And, of course, many more are expected as well. It's clear from the legal filings (and just generally what you'd expect) that law enforcement has been investigating Silk Road since at least early 2012. You had to expect that it would also be going after those who used the platform to break the law. In fact, in many ways, it seems much more reasonable to be going after those who broke the law using the platform than the creator of the platform itself (though, it also appears that he may have committed other crimes as well).

Either way, expect many more such arrests, though it's doubtful that this will slow down such hidden markets. In fact, I wonder if the publicity around the Silk Road crackdowns will actually end up attracting even greater interest in this arena -- in part from more organized crime operations that can more effectively hide their actions.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2013 @ 2:16pm

    I wouldn't be surprised if publicity is an intended goal. How easy would it be to take down entire networks if infiltrating them was as simple as clicking.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2013 @ 2:18pm

    so, are we to believe then, that had it not been for the total stupidity of the ultimate dog of the Silk Road pack, there wouldn't have been anyone else arrested? i dont believe that! either the other users were not wanted, the big dog was the one the authorities were waiting for and now they have him, all the others are being arrested just because they can be. if that were the case, surely the top kiddy would have been exceptionally careful, wouldn't he?
    i am waiting for the DoJ or FBI to have some representative stand up there and state similar crap that came out over Dotcom!

     

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  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 8th, 2013 @ 2:47pm

    Oh, the sacred "platforms" ploy!

    "it seems much more reasonable to be going after those who broke the law using the platform than the creator of the platform" -- There's plenty of jail cells for ALL involved, Mike.

    You're just trotting out your silly notion that internet "platforms" -- which anyone else calls businesses -- have NO responsibilty for what's on them. That's totally a weenie notion that exists only among little internet godlets who think that they can safely get money by being oblivious to crime. But tearly every court will find in such cases that obvious illegality makes the business liable TOO.

    Masnicking: daily spurts of short and trivial traffic-generating items.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2013 @ 2:50pm

    (though, it also appears that he may have committed other crimes as well).

    It's one thing to play the TechDirt 'stick it to the man' vibe to the hilt--it's another thing entirely when we know the guy was hiring out for a contract killing! Jesus...

     

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  5.  
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    Watchit (profile), Oct 8th, 2013 @ 2:58pm

    This is a good thing though, right?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2013 @ 3:06pm

    "In fact, in many ways, it seems much more reasonable to be going after those who broke the law using the platform than the creator of the platform itself (though, it also appears that he may have committed other crimes as well). "

    Come on, that's almost enough to make me agree with OOTB on this one. The dude was a skeezebag who was taking out hits, let's not white knight him here. Are you fucking kidding?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2013 @ 3:14pm

    Re:

    Waste of resources if you ask me.

    This market could have been regulated, bringing in standards and revenues.

    People keep dying of drug use, recently you get the Glee kid that was high profile.

    Pursuing stupid people for being stupid and that don't pose a physical risk to others or property should not be a problem for the police, it is a social problem society should learn to deal with it.

    There are far more dangerous people out there and resources are being wasted to go after those who probably can't even defend themselves let alone harm anyone.

    Further illegality attracts the real dangerous people to it, taking away that market from them takes away their means to make money easily.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2013 @ 3:19pm

    Re:

    Alleged to be hiring out for a contract killing.

    He gets that whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing that everyone is supposed to get.

    Now, I'm not defending him, I would not be surprised if all charges are true and he's convicted on them.

    But on the flip side I would not be surprised if some charges are false, trumped up to get a good excuse for taking out the middleman running a major hub so they could start rolling up the loose ends.

    Either way the point is you really shouldn't be complaining about Mike using slightly more creative writing than throwing "alleged" all over the place like other media outlets do as part of their journalistic responsibility to not libel someone that has yet to be proven guilty in a court of law.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

    Re:

    Like I said above, the dude is innocent until proven guilty. That's why CNN says things like:

    "They allege he is "the Dread Pirate Roberts," the Silk Road's mysterious founder"

    "one of whom Ulbricht is alleged to have enlisted to kill a blackmailer."

    "It was not the only time Ulbricht is alleged to have used the site to procure illegal services."

    ""In my eyes, FriendlyChemist is a liability and I wouldn't mind if he was executed," he is alleged to have written, before attempting to haggle down the price."

    Mike's just doing the same thing that other media outlets do when discussing crimes that have not yet gone to trial.

     

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  10.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 8th, 2013 @ 3:29pm

    Re:

    The dude was a skeezebag who was taking out hits, let's not white knight him here. Are you fucking kidding?

    1. Not white knighting him. In fact, I pointed out the other alleged crimes. Just pointing out that it's questionable if merely running a platform should be illegal based on its uses.

    2. We've only heard one side of the story, from a heavily biased party. Yes, that side looks bad, and if it turns out to be true, I totally agree with you. But, at the very least, we should wait until the rest of the story comes out. We've seen way too many times how the DOJ has spun stories that turned out to be less than claimed upfront.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2013 @ 3:35pm

    Re:

    Come on, that's almost enough to make me agree with OOTB on this one. The dude was a skeezebag who was taking out hits, let's not white knight him here. Are you fucking kidding?


    If the murder for hire allegations are true, it's still not the platform itself that is the problem it's the man that created it being an evil SOB. Maybe he could have worded that statement better. But I am assuming his point in that statement is that it isn't the technology that is the problem. The problem is moral and ethical one among its users.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2013 @ 3:36pm

    Drugs don't create violent criminal organizations. Wars on drugs create violent criminal organizations.

    Thus, the Silk Road takedown will create more violent criminal organizations, not reduce them.

    The long history of the war on drugs, has already proven this argument to be 100% factual and correct.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2013 @ 3:55pm

    So many stories can come from this shutdown:

    Good old investigative work and not NSA sniffed out those behind this. Bad guys using computers will still be caught even without the NSA

    This is the next napster and will spawn many copycats sending people into even darker corners.

    Just the seizure alone of the Bitcoins. The government will not destroy but sell off thus showing a value and that the government dealing in and selling legitimizes them.


    P.S. where are all the founders coins stashed.... they seized barely any of what the government says exists.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2013 @ 4:44pm

    Re:

    Maybe the top kiddie was not the operator of the site but the biggest baddest seller on the site.

     

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  15.  
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    aldestrawk (profile), Oct 8th, 2013 @ 5:40pm

    Law Enforcement would like to convince everyone that because they have the servers all the buyers and dealers can be found and arrested. Remember that a seller can retain anonymity from those running silk road, from buyers, and from other sellers. The weak link is in buying and receiving a package. Look at the arrests and see how defendants are found. An undercover seller can lure buyers from their honeypot. The compromised buyer can be made to purchase from another seller. With enough purchases, the seller can be tracked down. The automated post office can and does track packages and standard 1st class mail. The target address could be put on a hot list. I don't think there will be too many arrests as the window for setting up such busts has closed.
    I wonder if Sadler is the FriendlyChemist. Bellevue is fairly close to White Rock, BC.

     

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  16.  
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    aldestrawk (profile), Oct 8th, 2013 @ 5:45pm

    Re: Re:

    There are a lot of inconsistencies in what is known publicly, so far, about the two supposed hits. My suspicion is Ulbricht was acting out a charade in setting these up and had no intention of getting anyone killed. Remember, no one was actually killed. A scenario supposing a charade makes perhaps more sense than actual intended killings. I am not willing to bet on my suspicion just yet but killing people seems contradictory to Ulbricht's stated philosophy.

     

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  17.  
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    JMT (profile), Oct 8th, 2013 @ 5:56pm

    Re:

    "Are you fucking kidding?"

    Right back at ya. How you could get 'white knighting' out of Mike's comment is completely beyond me.

     

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  18.  
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    Watchit (profile), Oct 8th, 2013 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Re:

    Maybe for pot sellers. But other drugs like Meth are too dangerous, for the user and for those around them.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2013 @ 11:43pm

    Re: Oh, the sacred "platforms" ploy!

    Except that the Silk Road wasn't on the open internet. It was a black market available on Tor.

    There are black markets in every city in the world.

     

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  20.  
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    Andrew D. Todd, Oct 9th, 2013 @ 3:02am

    The FBI Infiltrated From The Top of the Supply Chain

    My understanding is that the FBI infiltrated Silk Road from the top, by supplying large quantities of drugs at low prices. One can imagine where the FBI got the drugs from. Some was probably obtained free of charge from police evidence lockers. Some was probably sold to the government by legitimate drug manufacturers at normal pharmaceutical prices (eg. things like OxyContin [Percocet] tablets, which are legal but controlled). No bona fide illicit supplier, taking the usual risks to obtain his supply, would be able to compete. When all the middlemen on Silk Road began buying their drugs from the FBI, because the FBI offered a better deal, of course the FBI had "need-to-know" for their addresses. It is not clear how many middlemen were privately taken over, and run under control. That is the nature of provocateur operations-- the policeman tends to become at least an accessory to the crime in question. If he is very successful at infiltrating, he becomes a crimelord. I think I can assert that a significant number of people, including many children, were induced to take dangerous drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines, who would not have done so without the FBI's agency.

    Of course, by publishing misinformation, the FBI is trying to obscure the sordid truth.

    One of the things which is emerging in the Biker--SUV case in New York is that a violent biker gang was full of undercover cops, one of whom has actually been arrested for personal participation in an attempted robbery.

     

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  21.  
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    Christenson, Oct 9th, 2013 @ 5:26am

    Disorganized by Secrecy

    I don't expect too many more arrests from Silk Road...because it is obvious that a bunch of independent investigations of Silk road users were surprised by the takedown, and had to make a decision as to whether they had enough of a case to go forward or not with the evidence as it stood that day. Had this surprise not been sprung on other cops, there would have been many simultaneous arrests.

    Remember, the sellers have had a week now to get away and disconnect themselves from their former lives. Some will. And no cop wants to be embarrassed because he wasn't able to prove his case "beyond a reasonable doubt".

     

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  22.  
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    alternatives(), Oct 9th, 2013 @ 5:53am

    Re: Re:

    We've seen way too many times how the DOJ has spun stories that turned out to be less than claimed upfront.

    Exactly this.

    And the DOJ creating false narratives does not help the idea that the Nation is under the Rule of Law.

     

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  23.  
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    Shon Gale (profile), Oct 9th, 2013 @ 6:41am

    Idiots! You are being monitored. You think you are immune? They have been monitoring us in every way they can since the 60's. They infiltrate our groups and poison our education system.
    You see, the American Government is very scared of their people. We are armed and that is scary to them. We can defend ourselves, we are NOT some poor Nigerians or Iraqis living in dirt huts to be shot and killed on a whim. I have 8 hunting knives hidden. I have a Taser, Mace and a Shotgun by the front door. I am old and if my government is so scared of us, I am in danger and will remain armed. Hah I'm only in danger from my elected government.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2013 @ 7:40am

    Re:

    Are you by any chance related to Gorehound? Also, you may be interested to know that Alcoa has just introduced its new Fall line of men's hats.

     

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  25.  
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    alternatives(), Oct 9th, 2013 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re:

    If the murder for hire allegations are true,

    If killing another for a paycheck is bad - where does that place an all volunteer army who gets a paycheck?

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2013 @ 8:28am

    That's what you get when trusting your personal info on some Heisenberg that uses his real name on the internet.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2013 @ 12:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Let's not try to start a moral debate about a sovereign nation's standing armies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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