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(Reuters)   Silk Road shut down. Bonus: Not by the Ottomans   (reuters.com) divider line 153
    More: Interesting, Silk Road, FBI, digital currency, bitcoins, United States Attorney  
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6251 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Oct 2013 at 2:29 PM (46 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



153 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-10-02 01:25:03 PM
From the Criminal Complaint

ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a a/k/a "Silk Road," the defendant, in connection with operating the Silk Road website, solicited a Silk Road user to execute a murder--for--hire of another Silk Road user, who was threatening to release the identities of thousands of users of the site.

I bet it was the man with 6 fingers!
 
2013-10-02 01:31:10 PM

scottydoesntknow: From the Criminal Complaint

ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a a/k/a "Silk Road," the defendant, in connection with operating the Silk Road website, solicited a Silk Road user to execute a murder--for--hire of another Silk Road user, who was threatening to release the identities of thousands of users of the site.

I bet it was the man with 6 fingers!


So reading that apparently it is illegal to configure your computer to disallow tracking cookies or browse the web anonymously.
 
2013-10-02 01:43:55 PM
By the Hassocks, instead?
 
2013-10-02 02:08:51 PM
I was going to blame those damn Parthians.
 
2013-10-02 02:10:49 PM
So the guy was basically caught because he advertised his site on a drug forum with the username 'altoid', then 8 months later used the same username on a different site, asking for advice on how to configure TOR sites, with responses to be sent to a gmail account with his real name on it.  Real smooth.
 
2013-10-02 02:33:21 PM
In addition, looks like bitcoins are crashing in value, based on the wharrgarble from someone in a chatroom I'm in.
 
2013-10-02 02:33:23 PM
AH MAN.  I was just about to buy a pound of heroin and then have a hitman kill me while holding a fake Albanian passport, too.
 
2013-10-02 02:34:46 PM
That didn't take as long as I thought it would.
 
2013-10-02 02:35:41 PM
Crap! What am I going to do with all these bitcoins now?
 
2013-10-02 02:35:44 PM
That's a shame.
 
2013-10-02 02:36:26 PM
And it's no one's business but The Turks.
 
2013-10-02 02:36:50 PM

Summercat: In addition, looks like bitcoins are crashing in value, based on the wharrgarble from someone in a chatroom I'm in.


Because the feds are seizing millions of them, apparently.  At least from this douche.
 
2013-10-02 02:37:33 PM
"Authorities also seized $3.6 million worth of digital currency Bitcoin, which was used instead of cash or credit cards to complete transactions on Silk Road."

I wonder if they'll launder these back to cash, knowing that for the most part they'd be selling them to drug buyers for more illicit transactions, or permanently impound them, which I think in an indirect way would minutely increase the exchange rate for bitcoins by taking them out of circulation.
 
2013-10-02 02:38:20 PM
Hook him up to The Machine.
 
2013-10-02 02:38:31 PM

Tom_Slick: So reading that apparently it is illegal to configure your computer to disallow tracking cookies or browse the web anonymously.


I don't see anything like that just skimming but...

First of all, not every single thing in a criminal complaint is a list of crimes committed. Some of the things in the complaint are merely explanations of how the crimes were committed, and those explanations can include references to objects and actions that were used to further the crime but which are not, themselves, criminal.

Second of all, things that would not normally be illegal can become criminal acts if you do them for the purpose of furthering other criminal acts.

For example, it's not illegal to drive a person away from a bank, but it is illegal to drive a person away from a bank if the intent is to help them escape after they robbed it.
 
2013-10-02 02:39:07 PM
Bravo subby, you history nerd.  Let's meet up later and play an MP game of Europa Universalis IV.
 
2013-10-02 02:39:39 PM
Damn!
 
2013-10-02 02:39:58 PM

Summercat: In addition, looks like bitcoins are crashing in value, based on the wharrgarble from someone in a chatroom I'm in.


Well, if google is correct, they've gone from consistently being worth around $20 to being priced over $100 in the last year. So... it wouldn't surprise me if that needed to deflate a little.

/Silk Road will just be replaced by something else. It probably already has.
//I think everyone knew it was just a matter of time before it was taken down
 
2013-10-02 02:40:07 PM

thetrenchcoat: And it's no one's business but The Turks.


eil.com
 
2013-10-02 02:41:11 PM

Satanic_Hamster: Summercat: In addition, looks like bitcoins are crashing in value, based on the wharrgarble from someone in a chatroom I'm in.

Because the feds are seizing millions of them, apparently.  At least from this douche.


It has nothing to do with that.  The value of a currency is based on whether you can spend it or not.  Silkroad was where you could spend your bitcoins, since hardly anyone anywhere else takes them as payment.

No demand = no value.

Macroeconomics, how does it farking work?
 
2013-10-02 02:41:55 PM
That used to be my site.

*I* was the Dread Pirate Roberts.

I taught Ulbricht the trade and when I had plundered and robbed enough, I handed over the username to him, just as it was once handed down to me. It all seems like just a fairy tale now...
 
2013-10-02 02:42:42 PM
It's not like they've got the real DPR.

The previous DPR was a man named Ryan.  He inherited Silk Road from a man name Cummerbund, who was also not the real DPR. The real DPR is currently retired and living like a king in Patagonia.
 
2013-10-02 02:43:13 PM

Summercat: In addition, looks like bitcoins are crashing in value, based on the wharrgarble from someone in a chatroom I'm in.


Well what percentage of total Bitcoin transactions was SilkRoad responsible for...40%? Higher?
 
2013-10-02 02:43:14 PM
They only THINK they captured the Dread Pirate Roberts.
 
2013-10-02 02:43:22 PM
I cant help but to picture the authorities carrying these huge 8-bit cardboard cutouts of moneybags to represent the Bitcoins they "seized".
 
2013-10-02 02:44:03 PM
It's abut time. It was full of freaking bots anyway
 
2013-10-02 02:45:26 PM
I would have never thought that site was run out of the US... huh...
 
2013-10-02 02:45:47 PM

Bill_Wick's_Friend: It's not like they've got the real DPR.

The previous DPR was a man named Ryan.  He inherited Silk Road from a man name Cummerbund, who was also not the real DPR. The real DPR is currently retired and living like a king in Patagonia.


Good night Ulbricht.  I'll most likely kill you in the morning.
 
2013-10-02 02:45:50 PM
Looks like Bitcoins are now extra useless.
 
2013-10-02 02:46:09 PM
Wonder why he set it up in the United States?
 
2013-10-02 02:48:11 PM

bubo_sibiricus: Satanic_Hamster: Summercat: In addition, looks like bitcoins are crashing in value, based on the wharrgarble from someone in a chatroom I'm in.

Because the feds are seizing millions of them, apparently.  At least from this douche.

It has nothing to do with that.  The value of a currency is based on whether you can spend it or not.  Silkroad was where you could spend your bitcoins, since hardly anyone anywhere else takes them as payment.

No demand = no value.

Macroeconomics, how does it farking work?


there's plenty of similar sites on the deep web, silk road was just the most famous. Now some other site will take the top spot.
 
2013-10-02 02:48:22 PM
If only there was a way to short bitcoins...
 
2013-10-02 02:48:25 PM

lacydog: Summercat: In addition, looks like bitcoins are crashing in value, based on the wharrgarble from someone in a chatroom I'm in.

Well, if google is correct, they've gone from consistently being worth around $20 to being priced over $100 in the last year. So... it wouldn't surprise me if that needed to deflate a little.

/Silk Road will just be replaced by something else. It probably already has.
//I think everyone knew it was just a matter of time before it was taken down


I think there is another site like it that was giving him some competition.  I believe that is why he was being less low key recently in order to promote his site.  Of course that is what got him caught it seems.
 
2013-10-02 02:48:50 PM
timujin?
 
2013-10-02 02:49:16 PM

Stranded On The Planet Dumbass: Wonder why he set it up in the United States?


He thought he was forever safe because it was over Tor.
 
2013-10-02 02:50:14 PM
And nothing of value was lost.
 
2013-10-02 02:50:22 PM

Alonjar: If only there was a way to short bitcoins...


people do it all the time
 
2013-10-02 02:50:56 PM

Headso: bubo_sibiricus: Satanic_Hamster: Summercat: In addition, looks like bitcoins are crashing in value, based on the wharrgarble from someone in a chatroom I'm in.

Because the feds are seizing millions of them, apparently.  At least from this douche.

It has nothing to do with that.  The value of a currency is based on whether you can spend it or not.  Silkroad was where you could spend your bitcoins, since hardly anyone anywhere else takes them as payment.

No demand = no value.

Macroeconomics, how does it farking work?

there's plenty of similar sites on the deep web, silk road was just the most famous. Now some other site will take the top spot.


One of Silk Road's biggest competitors (can't remember the name right now) shut down just a couple weeks ago because the owner said the site was compromised.
 
2013-10-02 02:51:05 PM
I don't do drugs or hire assassins so I don't care.
 
2013-10-02 02:51:33 PM

scottydoesntknow: Headso: bubo_sibiricus: Satanic_Hamster: Summercat: In addition, looks like bitcoins are crashing in value, based on the wharrgarble from someone in a chatroom I'm in.

Because the feds are seizing millions of them, apparently.  At least from this douche.

It has nothing to do with that.  The value of a currency is based on whether you can spend it or not.  Silkroad was where you could spend your bitcoins, since hardly anyone anywhere else takes them as payment.

No demand = no value.

Macroeconomics, how does it farking work?

there's plenty of similar sites on the deep web, silk road was just the most famous. Now some other site will take the top spot.

One of Silk Road's biggest competitors (can't remember the name right now) shut down just a couple weeks ago because the owner said the site was compromised.


It was Atlantis Markets (just looked it up).
 
2013-10-02 02:51:42 PM
U.S. law enforcement authorities have shut down "Silk Road," an anonymous Internet marketplace for illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine and criminal activities such as murder for hire, and arrested its alleged owner.

But craigslist is still up and running?
 
2013-10-02 02:52:20 PM

Alonjar: If only there was a way to short bitcoins...


there is.  there is even a few places to get margin
 
2013-10-02 02:52:39 PM

Alonjar: If only there was a way to short bitcoins...


There certainly is. I shorted BTC when the news broke and bought back a couple of hours ago. I'm very proud of myself - because whenever I've done that in the past, I've always lost.

BTC took a dive this afternoon, but it's now back up to the price it was in mid August.

I believe that it will be back to $125 in a week or two. I don't think this will have a significant effect on the price. Then again. I may be completely wrong.

One of many sites to short BTC: bitfinex.com
 
2013-10-02 02:53:08 PM

Harry Freakstorm: But craigslist is still up and running?


Of course. How do you think all those US Congressmen and their staffers get their anonymous male hookups?
 
2013-10-02 02:54:50 PM

jigger: He thought he was forever safe because it was over Tor.


He was running a criminal organization that's open to every random idiot that can install Tor and find it and he didn't think maybe some day a few of the 'tards would get caught on the far end of a compromised node, shaken down and start sending the feds up the tree toward him?

Jesus some people are dumb.
 
2013-10-02 02:55:58 PM

skozlaw: jigger: He thought he was forever safe because it was over Tor.

He was running a criminal organization that's open to every random idiot that can install Tor and find it and he didn't think maybe some day a few of the 'tards would get caught on the far end of a compromised node, shaken down and start sending the feds up the tree toward him?

Jesus some people are dumb.


i1.kym-cdn.com
 
2013-10-02 02:56:09 PM

Thurston Howell: Bravo subby, you history nerd.  Let's meet up later and play an MP game of Europa Universalis IV.


Only if there's alcohol involved.


/ first greenlight!
 
2013-10-02 02:56:12 PM

xanadian: By the Hassocks, instead?


I think it was the loveseat.
 
2013-10-02 02:56:47 PM

Harry Freakstorm: U.S. law enforcement authorities have shut down "Silk Road," an anonymous Internet marketplace for illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine and criminal activities such as murder for hire, and arrested its alleged owner.

But craigslist is still up and running?


Silk Road should just cite the Communications Decency act of 1996 then al will be forgiven. Works for craigslist and backpage.
 
2013-10-02 02:57:05 PM

Summercat: In addition, looks like bitcoins are crashing in value, based on the wharrgarble from someone in a chatroom I'm in.


i.imgur.com
 
2013-10-02 02:57:23 PM

thetrenchcoat: Harry Freakstorm: U.S. law enforcement authorities have shut down "Silk Road," an anonymous Internet marketplace for illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine and criminal activities such as murder for hire, and arrested its alleged owner.

But craigslist is still up and running?

Silk Road should just cite the Communications Decency act of 1996 then al will be forgiven. Works for craigslist and backpage.


Not only will al be forgiven but so will all.
 
2013-10-02 02:57:42 PM

BigNumber12: Thurston Howell: Bravo subby, you history nerd.  Let's meet up later and play an MP game of Europa Universalis IV.

Only if there's alcohol involved.


/ first greenlight!


Congrats. You beat my headline saying the Han Dynasty is inconsolable. I'm glad I lost to someone else who knows a little history.
 
2013-10-02 02:58:52 PM
Why am I less than impressed with what the FBI has done here? Aside from the listings for hit men (which you could probably do on Craigslist or other personal ads), there doesn't seem to be anything that the Feds did here which makes me happy they exist.
 
2013-10-02 02:58:58 PM
This is not a good thing.
 
2013-10-02 03:00:53 PM
Link to the actual charges are here:  https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-xWkaBbpAxGWXVWT2o0UHI2NEE/edit?usp=s haring">https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-xWkaBbpAxGWXVWT2o0UHI2NEE/e dit?usp=s haring
 
2013-10-02 03:01:12 PM

George Babbitt: This is not a good thing.


Oh please, tell us why? People might lose money they poured into a useless extranational currency?

i.qkme.me
 
2013-10-02 03:01:26 PM

Tom_Slick: scottydoesntknow: From the Criminal Complaint

ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a a/k/a "Silk Road," the defendant, in connection with operating the Silk Road website, solicited a Silk Road user to execute a murder--for--hire of another Silk Road user, who was threatening to release the identities of thousands of users of the site.

I bet it was the man with 6 fingers!

So reading that apparently it is illegal to configure your computer to disallow tracking cookies or browse the web anonymously.


Yes, that's exactly what it says.
 
2013-10-02 03:02:37 PM

scottydoesntknow: BigNumber12: Thurston Howell: Bravo subby, you history nerd.  Let's meet up later and play an MP game of Europa Universalis IV.

Only if there's alcohol involved.


/ first greenlight!

Congrats. You beat my headline saying the Han Dynasty is inconsolable. I'm glad I lost to someone else who knows a little history.


I don't know how to feel about this. I actually like yours a bit better, and this is the least-funny of my 4 submissions (ever).
 
2013-10-02 03:03:13 PM
 
2013-10-02 03:03:23 PM

scottydoesntknow: Congrats. You beat my headline saying the Han Dynasty is inconsolable. I'm glad I lost to someone else who knows a little history.


Thanks for TF!
 
2013-10-02 03:03:48 PM

Harry Freakstorm: But craigslist is still up and running?


The basic intent of Craigslist is not to expedite illegal transactions.

DPR stated repeatedly that the function of Silk Road was and behaved that way, and set up the rules for use in the TOS, allowing certain illegal things but not others.

Ergo...

DPR was running a criminal enterprise.  He's going away on RICO charges on top of everything else.
 
2013-10-02 03:04:27 PM

Harry Freakstorm: But craigslist is still up and running?


Craigslist has a huge eternal archive on MongoDB running a 3x3 (3 shards each a replica set of 3 replicas) of all of their posts from the beginning of time minus attached images.

Craigslist is not anonymous; they have your real e-mail address and a phone number.  They don't accept Google Voice numbers.

Craigslist will largely stand up for your rights and will encourage its users bluntly to support laws which strengthen privacy and keep the government from successfully subpoenaing records from them without strong justifiable cause.  They are, however, fully capable of handing over every god damn thing that's ever thought about posting on the site.

Now all e-mails route through Craigslist's remailer unless you send your real e-mail address and break contact.  That's nice because you can talk to people without giving them your real contact info, then block them through the remailer; it does mean that your entire conversation is through Craigslist, and possibly archived.  Your first mail can be a turring test passer and "want to get off the remailer?", or stick to benign until you've established willingness to trade contact info and then get off it and onto the juicy.

Then just your mail server has your e-mails.
 
2013-10-02 03:05:11 PM

bubo_sibiricus: DPR was running a criminal enterprise.  He's going away on RICO charges on top of everything else.


Didn't Silk Road also trade in Kiddy Porn?
 
2013-10-02 03:05:47 PM
BigNumber12:
, and this is the least-funny of my 4 submissions (ever).

You'll get used to it.
 
2013-10-02 03:05:58 PM

dittybopper: xanadian: By the Hassocks, instead?

I think it was the loveseat.


Maybe we should just table this discussion for now...
 
2013-10-02 03:06:21 PM

BigNumber12: scottydoesntknow: Congrats. You beat my headline saying the Han Dynasty is inconsolable. I'm glad I lost to someone else who knows a little history.

Thanks for TF!


Enjoy, you earned it!

/You liked my headline more
//I liked yours more
 
2013-10-02 03:08:27 PM
Interesting timing with the closing down of the other main market, Atlantis 2 weeks ago....
https://www.facebook.com/AtlantisMarket
 
2013-10-02 03:09:22 PM
Very surprised he was running this out of the U.S. Would of thought a site like that would of been hosted in Guatemala or something.
 
2013-10-02 03:09:51 PM
Not by the Ottomans, but possibly by a stool pigeon.
 
2013-10-02 03:10:09 PM
This will also ruin TOR for the people who need it for legitimate uses.

This is why we can't have nice things.
 
2013-10-02 03:12:04 PM

hardinparamedic: bubo_sibiricus: DPR was running a criminal enterprise.  He's going away on RICO charges on top of everything else.

Didn't Silk Road also trade in Kiddy Porn?


Pretty sure that was forbidden. I haven't visited SR in a year but all the "crimes" were victimless - meaning drugs.

Firearms were not permitted and I think it highly unlikely that a contract for a killing was ever posted or entered into by DPR. That charge just doesn't ring true.

But hey, those are the kinds of things that enrage the population so the LEA will charge whatever makes him look evil. And by-and-large the population will believe it.
 
2013-10-02 03:12:42 PM
SilkRoad had a near monopoly.  The only two players left are Sheep and BMR, and more markets will emerge in the coming weeks.  Old vendors will be able to verify their identities with old customers that still have the PGP keys.  The government just created competition in a black market that previously had very little.  I think the already fantastic prices on SilkRoad are about to be beat by a significant amount.
 
2013-10-02 03:13:24 PM

Gargoyle: Firearms were not permitted and I think it highly unlikely that a contract for a killing was ever posted or entered into by DPR. That charge just doesn't ring true.


Allegedly, they have multiple private messages from him referring to it, including a photo of the victim.
 
2013-10-02 03:14:05 PM
cc_rider:  >forbes article

"This story appears in the September 2, 2013 issue of Forbes. "

Timing was probably not coincidental.
 
2013-10-02 03:14:35 PM

The_Fuzz: Interesting timing with the closing down of the other main market, Atlantis 2 weeks ago....
https://www.facebook.com/AtlantisMarket


Interesting, but it was found out relatively quickly that it was a scam by the site administrators.  They indicated they were shutting down and everyone would have the opportunity to withdraw their coins to external wallets but lied about the second part.
 
2013-10-02 03:14:47 PM

thetrenchcoat: This will also ruin TOR for the people who need it for legitimate uses.

This is why we can't have nice things.


Yea. I wonder how they managed to find him. Is there a weakness in TOR? Or did he do something dumb IRL linking himself to SR.
 
2013-10-02 03:15:41 PM

Gargoyle: hardinparamedic: bubo_sibiricus: DPR was running a criminal enterprise.  He's going away on RICO charges on top of everything else.

Didn't Silk Road also trade in Kiddy Porn?

Pretty sure that was forbidden. I haven't visited SR in a year but all the "crimes" were victimless - meaning drugs.

Firearms were not permitted and I think it highly unlikely that a contract for a killing was ever posted or entered into by DPR. That charge just doesn't ring true.

But hey, those are the kinds of things that enrage the population so the LEA will charge whatever makes him look evil. And by-and-large the population will believe it.


I know their competitor, Atlantis, did deal in weapons and other stuff. It was their way to draw other customers. "Oh Silk Road won't let you trade M60 machine guns, but you can here!"
 
2013-10-02 03:17:33 PM
 
2013-10-02 03:17:40 PM
Was it the Chesterfields?
 
2013-10-02 03:18:10 PM
I'm glad.  Now that Napster is shut down, downloading MP3s from non-industry sources will stop.

If I've learned anything from Optimus Prime, it's that, "This time we finish it!  Once and for all!"
 
2013-10-02 03:19:26 PM

Schroedinger's Glory Hole: SilkRoad had a near monopoly.  The only two players left are Sheep and BMR, and more markets will emerge in the coming weeks.  Old vendors will be able to verify their identities with old customers that still have the PGP keys.  The government just created competition in a black market that previously had very little.  I think the already fantastic prices on SilkRoad are about to be beat by a significant amount.


Nonsense! Shutting down Napster ended music piracy on-line and it seems reasonable to expect the same results from this action against Silk Road.

/bear road
/gnu road
/silkaaza road
/silk Morpheus
etc
 
2013-10-02 03:21:40 PM
I understand he wanted a quality of life, but why was he living in San Francisco where the FBI could easily grab him? Didn't he learn any lessons from the Megaupload case where you need a jurisdiction that makes the FBI at least offer up a token case to extradite you back to the US. It certainly isn't complete protection, but by just sitting in the US, it becomes incredibly easy to get you into custody.
 
2013-10-02 03:22:21 PM
I was going to use the headline

In Soviet America, federal government shuts down you

But never got around to it.
 
2013-10-02 03:25:33 PM

thetrenchcoat: Harry Freakstorm: U.S. law enforcement authorities have shut down "Silk Road," an anonymous Internet marketplace for illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine and criminal activities such as murder for hire, and arrested its alleged owner.

But craigslist is still up and running?

Silk Road should just cite the Communications Decency act of 1996 then al will be forgiven. Works for craigslist and backpage.


They will nail him to the wall for tax evasion or money laundering.
 
2013-10-02 03:26:10 PM

The Onion is prophetic: So the guy was basically caught because he advertised his site on a drug forum with the username 'altoid', then 8 months later used the same username on a different site, asking for advice on how to configure TOR sites, with responses to be sent to a gmail account with his real name on it.  Real smooth.


Does anyone have any technical details on how they caught him?

AFAIK, Silk Road was run off an onion link, which are supposed to be untraceable. Users would have only been able to connect to the hidden service through tor, which provides anonymity for both the owner of the hidden service and the user.

Just curious if tor has been cracked by the Feds.
 
2013-10-02 03:27:36 PM
How does one turn a bit coin back into real world currency?
 
2013-10-02 03:27:37 PM

Satanic_Hamster: Summercat: In addition, looks like bitcoins are crashing in value, based on the wharrgarble from someone in a chatroom I'm in.

Because the feds are seizing millions of them, apparently.  At least from this douche.


They´d go up in value then.
 
2013-10-02 03:27:46 PM

Gargoyle: thetrenchcoat: This will also ruin TOR for the people who need it for legitimate uses.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Yea. I wonder how they managed to find him. Is there a weakness in TOR? Or did he do something dumb IRL linking himself to SR.


The Feds used an exploit when they brought down the kiddy porn sites on TOR so it may have been a little bit of both.
 
2013-10-02 03:28:45 PM

thetrenchcoat: This will also ruin TOR for the people who need it for legitimate uses.

This is why we can't have nice things.


Why?

It may have chilling effects for StackOverflow, though - they ID'd him because he accidentally posted this question with his full name. Oops.
 
2013-10-02 03:29:30 PM

Kygz: How does one turn a bit coin back into real world currency?


Buy drugs on silk road, then sell drugs for cash.  Its easy.
 
2013-10-02 03:30:29 PM

Elegy: Just curious if tor has been cracked by the Feds.


From the report, I don't think so.

However, from the Snowden affair, we know that the answer could be "Yes, but that's classified, so we have concocted a dubious but legally sufficient evidence trail that we can claim we followed without revealing that we've cracked tor."
 
2013-10-02 03:30:52 PM

rk1i: timujin?


Nope, not me.
 
2013-10-02 03:33:47 PM
Apparently he just got sloppy.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/10/02/end-of-the-silk -r oad-fbi-busts-the-webs-biggest-anonymous-drug-black-market/

One clue mentioned in the criminal complaint against Ulbricht was a package seized from the mail by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol as it crossed the Canadian border, containing nine seemingly counterfeit identification documents, each of which used a different name but featured Ulbricht's photograph. The address on the package was on 15th street in San Francisco, where police found Ulbricht and matched his face to the one on the fake IDs.

The complaint also mentions security mistakes, including an IP address for a VPN server used by Ulbricht listed in the code on the Silk Road, mentions of time in the Dread Pirate Roberts' posts on the site that identified his time zone, and postings on the Bitcoin Talk forum under the handle "altoid," which was tied to Ulbricht's Gmail address.
 
2013-10-02 03:34:14 PM

FedExPope: Why am I less than impressed with what the FBI has done here? Aside from the listings for hit men (which you could probably do on Craigslist or other personal ads), there doesn't seem to be anything that the Feds did here which makes me happy they exist.


He thought the FBI wasn't working do to the government shutdown.
 
2013-10-02 03:34:37 PM
What does this mean for the Tor Network?  Is there any meaningful impact?
 
2013-10-02 03:34:49 PM

phritz: thetrenchcoat: This will also ruin TOR for the people who need it for legitimate uses.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Why?

It may have chilling effects for StackOverflow, though - they ID'd him because he accidentally posted this question with his full name. Oops.


It;s bad PR for TOR. If the Feds can catch criminals who use TOR then who's to say that less than reputable governments won't be able to track down dissidents through TOR?
 
2013-10-02 03:35:00 PM
or due to, whatever
 
2013-10-02 03:36:07 PM

Gargoyle: Firearms were not permitted and I think it highly unlikely that a contract for a killing was ever posted or entered into by DPR. That charge just doesn't ring true.

But hey, those are the kinds of things that enrage the population so the LEA will charge whatever makes him look evil. And by-and-large the population will believe it.


media.tumblr.com
 
2013-10-02 03:36:29 PM
Old_Chief_Scott

Smartest
Funniest
2013-10-02 02:41:55 PM
That used to be my site.

*I* was the Dread Pirate Roberts.

I taught Ulbricht the trade and when I had plundered and robbed enough, I handed over the username to him, just as it was once handed down to me. It all seems like just a fairy tale now...


good night, sleep well. I'll most likely kill you in the morning.
 
2013-10-02 03:36:46 PM

incendi: Elegy: Just curious if tor has been cracked by the Feds.

From the report, I don't think so.

However, from the Snowden affair, we know that the answer could be "Yes, but that's classified, so we have concocted a dubious but legally sufficient evidence trail that we can claim we followed without revealing that we've cracked tor."


If they have cracked Tor, are their cracking efforts technically legal?
 
2013-10-02 03:39:50 PM

Daedalus27: I understand he wanted a quality of life, but why was he living in San Francisco where the FBI could easily grab him? Didn't he learn any lessons from the Megaupload case where you need a jurisdiction that makes the FBI at least offer up a token case to extradite you back to the US. It certainly isn't complete protection, but by just sitting in the US, it becomes incredibly easy to get you into custody.


If you read the other article linked upthread he really comes across as overconfident and arrogant. Not surprised he was caught.
 
2013-10-02 03:39:56 PM
farm6.static.flickr.com
Got nuthin'
 
2013-10-02 03:41:03 PM

Theaetetus: Gargoyle: Firearms were not permitted and I think it highly unlikely that a contract for a killing was ever posted or entered into by DPR. That charge just doesn't ring true.

Allegedly, they have multiple private messages from him referring to it, including a photo of the victim.


You mean something like this:
farm4.staticflickr.com
 
2013-10-02 03:46:11 PM
Hey, what about the BTC that people have there in their accounts?

The FBI is just 'seizing' the site and keeping everyone's BTC?

There were totally legal things to buy there. (In fact, couldn't you legally buy Marijuana from SR if you lived in Washington & Colorado?- well not Federally I guess) So the feds don't really have the right to seize everyone's BTC in my opinion.

It would be like seizing your bank account because the BANK was doing something nefarious.

I know, not exactly, but it is a point to ponder.
 
2013-10-02 03:46:26 PM

thetrenchcoat: It;s bad PR for TOR. If the Feds can catch criminals who use TOR then who's to say that less than reputable governments won't be able to track down dissidents through TOR?


Yeah, but they didn't catch him due to a weakness in TOR.  They caught him because he farked up.
 
2013-10-02 03:50:21 PM

Headso: I would have never thought that site was run out of the US... huh...


site...  Run Out of the US... R.O.U.S... I didn't think they existed.

/inconceivable!
 
2013-10-02 03:50:24 PM
QFTA:

The complaint described other aspects of Ulbricht's online presence: In a Google+ profile, he described himself as a fan of libertarian economic philosophy and posted videos from the Ludwig von Mises Institute, an Auburn, Alabama-based economics institute.

I bought my drugs with ONE SILVER BITCOIN!!1!

It doesn't get any better than this. LOL.
 
2013-10-02 03:50:42 PM

Grandemadaca: [farm6.static.flickr.com image 500x327]
Got nuthin'


freshstylemag.com
 
2013-10-02 03:53:41 PM

ShawnDoc: thetrenchcoat: It;s bad PR for TOR. If the Feds can catch criminals who use TOR then who's to say that less than reputable governments won't be able to track down dissidents through TOR?

Yeah, but they didn't catch him due to a weakness in TOR.  They caught him because he farked up.


True, but compound this with the Freedom Hosting child porn sites and it makes it look like TOR has security issues.

Sometimes perception is everything.
 
2013-10-02 03:55:01 PM

Hoblit: Hey, what about the BTC that people have there in their accounts?


Everyone's bitcoins were tumbled together so now they are all available to seizure thru RICO.
 
2013-10-02 03:55:44 PM

Endive Wombat: incendi: Elegy: Just curious if tor has been cracked by the Feds.

From the report, I don't think so.

However, from the Snowden affair, we know that the answer could be "Yes, but that's classified, so we have concocted a dubious but legally sufficient evidence trail that we can claim we followed without revealing that we've cracked tor."

If they have cracked Tor, are their cracking efforts technically legal?


Given that the CIA created TOR (and runs most of the exit nodes), yes, the government has cracked TOR (for certain definitions of cracked).  It's not terribly hard, it just requires owning most of the nodes.
 
2013-10-02 04:02:26 PM

hardinparamedic: useless extranational currency


The easiest thing you said which disproves itself.

And if people didn't use drugs, you would be out of a job pretty quick I imagine, then what would you fill your bio with?
 
2013-10-02 04:07:53 PM

ShawnDoc: Yeah, but they didn't catch him due to a weakness in TOR.


The FBI is not advertising a weakness in Tor. They say that they had him made from an email address that he used on StackOverflow.

This does not mean that there are not backdoors into tracing people on Tor, or that the FBI doesn't know about them or doesn't use them. It means that the FBI feels that they had their man (indeed, for months) and that they would present the evidence that they felt was most damaging to the Honorable Frank Maas.

As far as many of the other charges go -I am skeptical of Law Enforcement's evidence. They have been known to fabricate evidence when it suits them, even corroborate each other's story's (Like:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_evidence#FBI_scandal ). They were monitoring the Silkroad server in a foreign country for months. Was the chain of evidence followed, who was allowed to get on there?

I'm guessing that more than one in the FBI's  computer forensics unit had the motive, the opportunity and the means to plant damaging evidence on that remote server. Even if Ulbrecht was guilty of managing it.
 
2013-10-02 04:09:23 PM

Elegy: The Onion is prophetic: So the guy was basically caught because he advertised his site on a drug forum with the username 'altoid', then 8 months later used the same username on a different site, asking for advice on how to configure TOR sites, with responses to be sent to a gmail account with his real name on it.  Real smooth.

Does anyone have any technical details on how they caught him?

AFAIK, Silk Road was run off an onion link, which are supposed to be untraceable. Users would have only been able to connect to the hidden service through tor, which provides anonymity for both the owner of the hidden service and the user.

Just curious if tor has been cracked by the Feds.


The Slate article on it says that their first lead was Canadian customs randomly intercepting a package of (fake IDs?) sent to his apartment.

Among other circumstantial evidence was a Stack Overflow question he posted under his own name about connecting to a Tor hidden service through PHP; the server turned out to have code much like that in the question.

So Tor and Bitcoin stayed secure, assuming that's all true and the complete story.
 
2013-10-02 04:14:24 PM

Headso: I would have never thought that site was run out of the US... huh...


Pg 14
During the course of this investigation, the FBI has located a number of computer servers, both in the United States and in multiple foreign countries, associated with the operation of Silk Road. In particular, the FBI has located in a certain foreign country the server used to host Silk Road's website (the "Silk Road Web Server"). Pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty request, an image of the Silk Road Web Server was made on or about July 23, 2013.
 
2013-10-02 04:35:35 PM

The Onion is prophetic: So the guy was basically caught because he advertised his site on a drug forum with the username 'altoid', then 8 months later used the same username on a different site, asking for advice on how to configure TOR sites, with responses to be sent to a gmail account with his real name on it.  Real smooth.


I don't buy that story.

I think the DEA/FBI is backtracking to cover the real source.

Why would that one post be brought to the attention of the DEA/FBI out of the entire Interenet?

And didn't DPE claim he was the second owner of the Silk Road?
 
2013-10-02 04:36:45 PM

Gaseous Anomaly: The Slate article on it says that their first lead was Canadian customs randomly intercepting a package of (fake IDs?) sent to his apartment.


How randomly convenient.
 
2013-10-02 04:40:22 PM

Theaetetus: Gargoyle: Firearms were not permitted and I think it highly unlikely that a contract for a killing was ever posted or entered into by DPR. That charge just doesn't ring true.

Allegedly, they have multiple private messages from him referring to it, including a photo of the victim.


According to the court documents, no one with that name lives in Canada and no murders in the supposed home town.
 
2013-10-02 04:42:38 PM

Endive Wombat: incendi: Elegy: Just curious if tor has been cracked by the Feds.

From the report, I don't think so.

However, from the Snowden affair, we know that the answer could be "Yes, but that's classified, so we have concocted a dubious but legally sufficient evidence trail that we can claim we followed without revealing that we've cracked tor."

If they have cracked Tor, are their cracking efforts technically legal?


TOR was originally a government project.
 
2013-10-02 04:57:45 PM
The strange part of this is he's running a multi million dollar operation and still got a public defender. WTF.

/hire a lawyer drug dealers, do it now, before you get caught not after they seize your farking assets
 
2013-10-02 04:59:07 PM

George Babbitt: hardinparamedic: useless extranational currency

The easiest thing you said which disproves itself.

And if people didn't use drugs, you would be out of a job pretty quick I imagine, then what would you fill your bio with?


More rants about BitCoins, obviously.
 
2013-10-02 05:14:17 PM

js34603: The strange part of this is he's running a multi million dollar operation and still got a public defender. WTF.

/hire a lawyer drug dealers, do it now, before you get caught not after they seize your farking assets


I knew a guy that gave his lawyer a safety deposit box key in case of just such an emergency.  The only problem was the staggering amount of money he put into the thing and it just sat there.  We're talking 7 figures.
 
2013-10-02 05:26:21 PM

mcreadyblue: Theaetetus: Gargoyle: Firearms were not permitted and I think it highly unlikely that a contract for a killing was ever posted or entered into by DPR. That charge just doesn't ring true.

Allegedly, they have multiple private messages from him referring to it, including a photo of the victim.

According to the court documents, no one with that name lives in Canada and no murders in the supposed home town.


And? As long as they're charging him with solicitation to commit murder, rather than murder, that's irrelevant. I know of a guy who contacted a cop (unwittingly) to hire him to kill a guy who stole from him. Sure, the cop didn't do it, but the guy was still convicted of solicitation.
 
2013-10-02 05:41:03 PM

timujin: rk1i: timujin?

Nope, not me.


just askin'.  'cuz last time, it was.  maybe you've mellowed in the last 800 years.
 
2013-10-02 05:42:33 PM

George Babbitt: The easiest thing you said which disproves itself.


Please, tell me how it's useful, other than to trade for illicit goods and services on the darknet? Or how it's value is in exchange to national-backed currencies?

Oh, wait. I've got a few. I'll just go down to the pub an...well, damn.
Well, I need a gallon of milk, so I'll just go to the groc- oh COME ON.
 
2013-10-02 06:32:21 PM

hardinparamedic: George Babbitt: The easiest thing you said which disproves itself.

Please, tell me how it's useful, other than to trade for illicit goods and services on the darknet?


Cyprus, April 2013 - Google it.
 
2013-10-02 06:40:50 PM

Theaetetus: mcreadyblue: Theaetetus: Gargoyle: Firearms were not permitted and I think it highly unlikely that a contract for a killing was ever posted or entered into by DPR. That charge just doesn't ring true.

Allegedly, they have multiple private messages from him referring to it, including a photo of the victim.

According to the court documents, no one with that name lives in Canada and no murders in the supposed home town.

And? As long as they're charging him with solicitation to commit murder, rather than murder, that's irrelevant. I know of a guy who contacted a cop (unwittingly) to hire him to kill a guy who stole from him. Sure, the cop didn't do it, but the guy was still convicted of solicitation.


Can you be convicted of trying to kill someone that doesn't exist?
 
2013-10-02 06:43:04 PM

mcreadyblue: Theaetetus: mcreadyblue: Theaetetus: Gargoyle: Firearms were not permitted and I think it highly unlikely that a contract for a killing was ever posted or entered into by DPR. That charge just doesn't ring true.

Allegedly, they have multiple private messages from him referring to it, including a photo of the victim.

According to the court documents, no one with that name lives in Canada and no murders in the supposed home town.

And? As long as they're charging him with solicitation to commit murder, rather than murder, that's irrelevant. I know of a guy who contacted a cop (unwittingly) to hire him to kill a guy who stole from him. Sure, the cop didn't do it, but the guy was still convicted of solicitation.

Can you be convicted of trying to kill someone that doesn't exist?


I think the "To Catch a Predator" stings have shown that you can be convicted of soliciting minors for sex when the minors never existed in the first place. I don't think it's much of a stretch to apply that to murder for hire.
 
2013-10-02 06:56:20 PM
Can you be convicted of trying to kill someone that doesn't exist?

I think the "To Catch a Predator" stings have shown that you can be convicted of soliciting minors for sex when the minors never existed in the first place. I don't think it's much of a stretch to apply that to murder for hire. I don't know.


FTFY. You're welcome.
 
2013-10-02 07:09:46 PM
Ars Technica has a great article on this, as is usual for Ars.

Apparently poor operational security did the guy in.

Fascinating read.
 
2013-10-02 07:11:19 PM

The Billdozer: I cant help but to picture the authorities carrying these huge 8-bit cardboard cutouts of moneybags to represent the Bitcoins they "seized".


hahahaha
 
2013-10-02 07:13:39 PM
I figured Silk Road was too confusing.  So I found Topix.com.  It's amazing.  Sure, it's illegal, but you know what?  Cops don't care about the little guys.  So now I have 3 different connections (all chicks) for my weekly Oxy uh..."hobby".  Been using em for over a year.  First name basis, can buy on "credit", the whole nine yards.

/bills are paid, make a good living
 
2013-10-02 07:14:10 PM

hardinparamedic: George Babbitt: The easiest thing you said which disproves itself.

Please, tell me how it's useful, other than to trade for illicit goods and services on the darknet? Or how it's value is in exchange to national-backed currencies?

Oh, wait. I've got a few. I'll just go down to the pub an...well, damn.
Well, I need a gallon of milk, so I'll just go to the groc- oh COME ON.


Seriously. And not being snarky: You have a bit to learn.

Cryptocurrency has great value that no other payment/value transfer mechanism has.

It can - theoretically - be used to buy milk, And some day that may be commonplace. I have BTC on my phone that I could use for such a transaction this minute.

It can be used to engage in a two party "escrowed" transaction. Something that is impossible with any other currency.

It is accepted anywhere you can get a signal. No other payment mechanism does that. PayPal, Visa, MC etc refuse certain countries - like Nigeria for instance. I would have no hesitation selling something to a buyer in Lagos if he paid in BTC. I would not accept any other method of payment.

Some of the capabilities are just flat out novel: colored coin for instance. Something that we normal humans have no previous frame of reference with which to compare. An intelligent house that is transferred cryptographically.

It's geek wankin material.
 
2013-10-02 07:19:08 PM
Really deserved an Obvious tag.

I am enjoying Bitcoin's plunge, too.
 
2013-10-02 07:25:56 PM
mcreadyblue:

Can you be convicted of trying to kill someone that doesn't exist?

It will depend on your jurisdiction and the details of the case, but in general, yes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impossibility_defense
 
2013-10-02 07:26:23 PM
should've called Saul
 
2013-10-02 07:26:54 PM

Ricardo Klement: Really deserved an Obvious tag.

I am enjoying Bitcoin's plunge, too.


a) Why would you care?

b) Plunge? It's up something like 1000% in the last year. It's currently trading at $107. Which is where it was in late August. So after the horrible news of SR, has set it back ~6 weeks.
 
2013-10-02 07:53:31 PM

Gargoyle: Ricardo Klement: Really deserved an Obvious tag.

I am enjoying Bitcoin's plunge, too.

a) Why would you care?

b) Plunge? It's up something like 1000% in the last year. It's currently trading at $107. Which is where it was in late August. So after the horrible news of SR, has set it back ~6 weeks.


a) It's entertaining to see people who hate fiat currency love bitcoin

b) Wait.
 
2013-10-02 07:57:29 PM
Black Market Reloaded still ok?

/probably not
 
2013-10-02 07:58:39 PM

Ricardo Klement: Gargoyle: Ricardo Klement: Really deserved an Obvious tag.

I am enjoying Bitcoin's plunge, too.

a) Why would you care?

b) Plunge? It's up something like 1000% in the last year. It's currently trading at $107. Which is where it was in late August. So after the horrible news of SR, has set it back ~6 weeks.

a) It's entertaining to see people who hate fiat currency love bitcoin

b) Wait.


OK, so why not short BTC and make some real $'s?  (Then I could see why you'd be enjoying the plunge)
 
2013-10-02 08:24:33 PM

Gargoyle: Ricardo Klement: Gargoyle: Ricardo Klement: Really deserved an Obvious tag.

I am enjoying Bitcoin's plunge, too.

a) Why would you care?

b) Plunge? It's up something like 1000% in the last year. It's currently trading at $107. Which is where it was in late August. So after the horrible news of SR, has set it back ~6 weeks.

a) It's entertaining to see people who hate fiat currency love bitcoin

b) Wait.

OK, so why not short BTC and make some real $'s?  (Then I could see why you'd be enjoying the plunge)


Excellent question! Really, the primary reason I don't short it is that I don't know how long this will take. I also consider such investment in a highly volatile market to be a risk level I am not comfortable with. Is it possible bitcoin will have a long run? Maybe. If it does, I actually have a reason to want it to succeed: it would help economists like myself capture information about the illicit market that is normally left out of economic calculations.

Money is a human contrivance, of course, and watching people who don't trust government with its checks and balances go hog-wild over a currency that has even less reason to be trusted is truly a spectacular thing.
 
2013-10-02 08:42:23 PM
Old_Chief_Scott and Bill_Wick's_Friend almost had the coolest simulpost EVER.
 
2013-10-02 09:08:32 PM

rk1i: timujin: rk1i: timujin?

Nope, not me.

just askin'.  'cuz last time, it was.  maybe you've mellowed in the last 800 years.


Old age'll do that to ya.
 
2013-10-02 09:17:39 PM

js34603: The strange part of this is he's running a multi million dollar operation and still got a public defender. WTF.

/hire a lawyer drug dealers, do it now, before you get caught not after they seize your farking assets


Federal public defenders are usually pretty solid lawyers unlike the crap shoot you have at the state level public defenders. The federal public defenders are experienced attorneys who can handle cases like this. They have the funding and resources to do complex cases like this will need given the electronic evidence.  If you go private on something like this, it will costs a huge amount for the experts you will need.  If I were in his shoes, I would serious consider utilizing their services as they can probably do just as well if not better than private counsel.
 
2013-10-02 09:20:05 PM

Daedalus27: js34603: The strange part of this is he's running a multi million dollar operation and still got a public defender. WTF.

/hire a lawyer drug dealers, do it now, before you get caught not after they seize your farking assets

Federal public defenders are usually pretty solid lawyers unlike the crap shoot you have at the state level public defenders. The federal public defenders are experienced attorneys who can handle cases like this. They have the funding and resources to do complex cases like this will need given the electronic evidence.  If you go private on something like this, it will costs a huge amount for the experts you will need.  If I were in his shoes, I would serious consider utilizing their services as they can probably do just as well if not better than private counsel.



My experience is completely the opposite.  Overworked, inattentive, doing the bare minimum possible for each client.
 
2013-10-02 09:38:03 PM

BafflerMeal: Daedalus27: js34603: The strange part of this is he's running a multi million dollar operation and still got a public defender. WTF.

/hire a lawyer drug dealers, do it now, before you get caught not after they seize your farking assets

Federal public defenders are usually pretty solid lawyers unlike the crap shoot you have at the state level public defenders. The federal public defenders are experienced attorneys who can handle cases like this. They have the funding and resources to do complex cases like this will need given the electronic evidence.  If you go private on something like this, it will costs a huge amount for the experts you will need.  If I were in his shoes, I would serious consider utilizing their services as they can probably do just as well if not better than private counsel.


My experience is completely the opposite.  Overworked, inattentive, doing the bare minimum possible for each client.



That'd be the private criminal attorneys: paid a flat fee, in advance, and so therefore have an incentive to do the absolute minimum.
 
2013-10-03 01:47:58 AM

js34603: The strange part of this is he's running a multi million dollar operation and still got a public defender. WTF.


What's he going to pay the high priced lawyer in, Bitcoin?

Because People in power are Stupid: Headso: I would have never thought that site was run out of the US... huh...

Pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty request, an image of the Silk Road Web Server was made on or about July 23, 2013.


One might wonder how it was the FBI managed to locate and obtain an image of this server "in a certain foreign country".  Indeed if a Judge were to exclude this evidence at trial it would be much more difficult to tie Ulbricht to DPR.
 
2013-10-03 06:29:59 AM

grovestreetgoon: One might wonder how it was the FBI managed to locate and obtain an image of this server "in a certain foreign country".  Indeed if a Judge were to exclude this evidence at trial it would be much more difficult to tie Ulbricht to DPR.


I wonder which country it's in. They might be suppressing this because if it were in *ahem* Sweden -there might be some local privacy laws that the FBI is violating. They best not tell anyone or get that country's citizens up in arms.
 
2013-10-03 07:48:28 AM

Elegy: Ars Technica has a great article on this, as is usual for Ars.

Apparently poor operational security did the guy in.

Fascinating read.


It was a good read.  This from the article caught my eye:

Wednesday's complaint comes a two months after FBI agents exploited a vulnerability in the Firefox browser to unmask Tor users suspected of participating in a child pornography site. There's no evidence Silk Road was brought down through similar tactics, although at this early stage they can't be ruled out conclusively.

I might be mis-remembering but... when I looked into Tor a couple months back, the browser bundle looked a lot like Firefox.  Maybe the security vunderability is in the browser and not the TOR routing strategy.
 
2013-10-03 11:14:21 AM

grovestreetgoon: What's he going to pay the high priced lawyer in, Bitcoin?


That would be entirely feasible if not for the fact that all of his holdings were stolen by the government prior to conviction.
 
2013-10-03 02:27:02 PM
grovestreetgoon:

What's he going to pay the high priced lawyer in, Bitcoin?

You don't have to be rich to get a good lawyer. Being famous works as well. You should just make sure that you are always at least one of of the above.
 
2013-10-03 02:49:40 PM

thetrenchcoat: phritz: thetrenchcoat: This will also ruin TOR for the people who need it for legitimate uses.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Why?

It may have chilling effects for StackOverflow, though - they ID'd him because he accidentally posted this question with his full name. Oops.

It;s bad PR for TOR. If the Feds can catch criminals who use TOR then who's to say that less than reputable governments won't be able to track down dissidents through TOR?


It's not about TOR or SO. It's about an idiot forgetting that every hitman you will ever find is really a cop or a cop informant, especially the ones that claim to work for a cartel.

/Want a cartel hitman? Get down to Mexico or Colombia yourself, and hope they don't whack you first
 
2013-10-03 02:53:24 PM

mcreadyblue: The Onion is prophetic: So the guy was basically caught because he advertised his site on a drug forum with the username 'altoid', then 8 months later used the same username on a different site, asking for advice on how to configure TOR sites, with responses to be sent to a gmail account with his real name on it.  Real smooth.

I don't buy that story.

I think the DEA/FBI is backtracking to cover the real source.

Why would that one post be brought to the attention of the DEA/FBI out of the entire Interenet?

And didn't DPE claim he was the second owner of the Silk Road?


That post was almost certainly found after they already started investigating him; it's corroboration that they were on the right track, not an initial lead.

The original owner of Silk Road is probably safely ensconced on some Cayman paradise right now. Or dead.
 
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