Silk Road drug busts multiply, eight new people arrested

A handful of alleged drug dealers that hawked their goods on the online black market bazaar have been arrested in the US, UK, and Sweden.

Silver Underground

Authorities are not stopping with the takedown of Silk Road's alleged owner; they've also started going after supposed drug dealers who used the online black market Web site.

Since alleged owner Ross Ulbricht's indictment last week, eight people in three different countries have been arrested in association with Silk Road. Authorities claim all these people were dealing drugs on the site.

In the US, two people were arrested in Bellevue, Wash., for allegedly dealing cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine to hundreds of buyers, according to journalist Brian Krebs. Steven Lloyd Sadler, 40, was allegedly a top seller on the site who went by the name "Nod," and Jenna White was his roommate and alleged accomplice.

Two other people were arrested in Sweden for allegedly dealing cannabis, according to local news outlet Helsingborgs Dagblad. And, in the UK, the country's National Crime Agency arrested four people for drug related offenses, according to the BBC. The agency warned that more arrests are forthcoming.

Last Wednesday, the FBI seized Silk Road and indicted Ulbricht , 29, who allegedly operated the site and used the online moniker "Dread Pirate Roberts." He faces charges of computer hacking conspiracy, narcotics trafficking conspiracy, and money laundering.

Silk Road was an online drug marketplace where its nearly 100,000 anonymous users could buy and sell all sorts of drugs using the secure Tor browser. The purchases were typically made with the virtual currency Bitcoin and sales are said to have totaled more than $1 billion . Since the FBI shuttered Silk Road, the site has been replaced with a seizure notice.

The arrests are causing a bit of panic among former Silk Road dealers and buyers. Several threads have started up on Reddit to discuss the takedown of Ulbricht, along with the subsequent arrests.

One Reddit forum launched on Tuesday titled "Worried about SR transaction" asks other users about the possibility of being arrested as a buyer. Many users recommend contacting a lawyer if at all worried about Silk Road purchases.

For their part, the authorities appear to just be getting started.

"These arrests send a clear message to criminals; the hidden Internet isn't hidden and your anonymous activity isn't anonymous. We know where you are, what you are doing and we will catch you," the UK's National Crime Agency director Keith Bristow told the BBC. "It is impossible for criminals to completely erase their digital footprint. No matter how technology-savvy the offender, they will always make mistakes."

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About the author

Dara Kerr is a staff writer for CNET focused on the sharing economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado where she developed an affinity for collecting fool's gold and spirit animals.

 

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