'Dark net' site Silk Road 2.0 suspect arrested

Silk Road 2.0 behind barsThe developer believed to be at the centre of a shady marketplace found on the Internet has been arrested in Seattle.

Known as the Silk Road 2.0 (named after the historical network of trade routes established during the Han Dynasty of China), this part of the web forms part of a shadowy underworld on the Internet known as the 'dark net' or 'deep web', which can shield users for any sort of surveillance using a network known as Tor.

The original Silk Road was closed down in 2013 with its second version being removed in November last year.

This week Brian Richard Farrell is alleged to have told police that he was the 'right hand man' of Silk Road 2.0 boss 'Defcon'.

The 26-year-old arrested in Seattle is alleged to be DoctorClu, the pseudonym for a senior administrator on the site. He is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

His arrest comes amid the trial of Ross Ulbricht, who is alleged to have run the original Silk Road. Ulbricht is being investigated for continuing criminal enterprise, conspiring to commit narcotics trafficking, money laundering and computer hacking.

Around 2.5m anonymous users are estimated to use the site every day. Authorities allege that this is being used for a variety of illicit services and groups, including terrorist organisations, drug and sex traffickers, as well as those selling counterfeit goods.

Prosecutors claim the site generated over a million untraceable drug deals and earned Ulbricht $18m (£11.9m) in commissions. If found guilty, he could be given life in prison.

A recent report from Vocativ, which writes on the dark net and deep web, found black the market sites Evolution and Agora were selling counterfeit goods of almost every type and price.

They say that the goods were as varies as fake art and clothing to fake perfumes or smartphones. It is easier for those buying and selling these goods on these sites as they can use the almost untraceable currency known as Bitcoin. This is the currency Ulbricht used.

But the dark net can also be used for other reasons, such as those concerned with their privacy being invaded by corporations or governments, and for journalists who want to use it to secure whistle-blowers' testimonies without fear of them being revealed.

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