By Hajar Lakhouili
The FBI caught 29-year-old Pennsylvania State University graduate Ross William Ulbricht, who was accused of creating Silk Road, an e-commerce site for the trade of illegal goods and services. It included hard drugs, hackers, counterfeit cash, forged ID documents, firearms, ammunition and even hitmen — Ulbricht allegedly enlisted one to kill a blackmailer, CNN reported.
After completing his studies in 2010, Ulbricht described to CNN that his goals “shifted” to match his libertarian economic views.
“I want to use economic theory as a means to abolish the use of coercion and aggression amongst mankind,” he said.
Silk Road had a million registered users worldwide — 30 percent of them based out of the United States, with over a billion dollars in sales, according to The Huffington Post.
The site provided users with guidance on how they can vacuum-pack their products and encrypt their communications before they ship through the postal service, in order to prevent exposure by law enforcement, CNN had discovered according to the indictment.
In the U.K., the country’s National Crime Agency stated that there would be more arrests when they unravel the network of drug dealers who used the website for their products, The Huffington Post reported.
In Canada, a user by the name of “FriendlyChemist” blackmailed “Dread Pirate Roberts,” the creator of the site who is suspected to be Ulbricht, for the amount of $500,000 in order to stop him from releasing the information about the website to the authorities, according to CNN.
“Dread Pirate Roberts” ordered a hit on “FriendlyChemist” for $150,000 in the website’s currency of bitcoins. The FBI said that the hitman sent a picture of the victim after the job was done, but there are no records by Canadian authorities regarding the homicide, according to CNN.
The FBI had discovered Ulbricht only after he posted his Gmail account on the site. They tracked the IP Address used by “Dread Pirate Roberts,” which matched with a visit Ulbricht had made to a friend in San Francisco, according to CNN.