The FBI arrested on Wednesday Blake Benthall, the administrator of Silk Road 2.0, also known as “Defcon”, according to an FBI press release. He has been charged with computer hacking, money laundering, conspiracy to commit fraud and others.
“As alleged, Blake Benthall attempted to resurrect Silk Road, a secret website that law enforcement seized last year, by running Silk Road 2.0, a nearly identical criminal enterprise,” said Preet Bharara, Manhattan US Attorney. “Those looking to follow in the footsteps of alleged cybercriminals should understand that we will return as many times as necessary to shut down noxious online criminal bazaars.”
The FBI collaborated with the Department of Homeland Security and European law enforcement in the seizure of Silk Road 2.0’s servers.
Silk Road 2.0 is known as an alternative to the defunct Silk Road that was taken down by the FBI in October, 2013. It was launched five weeks after the take down of the first Silk Road.
Silk Road 2.0 worked the same way as the first one, selling illegal services and goods via Tor that generated millions of dollars. Transactions were also processed in bitcoins to maintain the anonymity of sellers and buyers.
The FBI said Silk Road 2.0 processed $8 million per month since September 2014. It had over 13,000 listings for illegal drugs as of October 2014.
The FBI even bought, from Benthall himself, 5 kilogram of cocaine, 1 kilogram of heroin and 10 grams of LSD.
Benthall could face life in prison if convicted.