Federal authorities have shut down Silk Road, one of the largest websites for drug trafficking and other criminal activities. The site existed under layers of secrecy and used electronic currency.
Jim Urquhart/ Reuters/ File
Silk Road, a notorious website for drug trafficking and other criminal activities, has been shut down after its alleged operator, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced. Federal prosecutors have charged Mr. Ulbricht with narcotics trafficking, computer hacking, money laundering, and the solicitation of a murder-for-hire.
How did this black market work, and how did it escape law enforcement for a time? Here are the basics about this so-called eBay of illegal drugs.
What was Silk Road?
Silk Road was an online marketplace that allowed buyers and sellers to conduct all their transactions anonymously. In addition to the cost of goods or services purchased, the site charged a small fee, akin to a shipping cost, to deliver the purchases. While the site’s interface looked benign, the vast majority of transactions involved narcotics, and hit men, firearms, and pornography could also be purchased, according to authorities.
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