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Thursday, November 6, 2014

FBI Nabs Alleged Silk Road 2.0 Operator Blake Benthall

Posted By on Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 9:51 AM

click to enlarge silkroad.png
Roughly a year since Ross Ulbricht was arrested in the Glen Park Library and charged with running a vast drug and contraband bazaar over the "dark Internet," his alleged successor, Blake Benthall, has also landed in FBI clutches.

Benthall, a 26-year-old computer programmer, is accused of running Silk Road 2.0, a hidden website in which users could swap Bitcoin for illegal drugs. The site launched within weeks of Ulbricht's arrest, employing features nearly identical to the ones on the original Silk Road. It offered 13,000 listings for controlled substances, including psychedelics, ecstasy, cannabis, and opioids. Its proprietor went by the alias "Defcon."

According to FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos, Benthall, like Ulbricht, ran his site through the anonymous Tor network, generating millions of dollars in monthly sales. "Benthall should have known that those who hide behind the keyboard will ultimately be found," Venizelos said in a press statement.

Benthall was arrested yesterday in San Francisco and will appear before Magistrate Judge Jaqueline Scott Corley today. Ulbricht, meanwhile, is awaiting his January trial in a New York penitentiary, where he reportedly teaches yoga to other inmates.

You can read the unsealed criminal complaint here.

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.


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