Now that black market website Silk Road is down, police around the world are beginning to arrest the people who were allegedly dealing drugs on the heavily encrypted online marketplace. If you were a major dealer on Silk Road, maybe now's a good time to make sure you didn't leave a digital paper trail.
Last week, the FBI seized Silk Road, a massive online market for drugs, guns and other illicit merchandise and charged California resident Ross William Ulbricht (the 29-year-old who allegedly went by the online handle "Dread Pirate Roberts") with running the whole thing. A pair of assassination attempts were also included in the charges. While the FBI toils away trying to unlock the reported $80 million worth of Bitcoin currency seized from Ulbircht, other regular dealers who used the service are being rounded up across the globe.
Police arrested Steven Sadler in Washington after intercepting a package filled with drugs and cash en route to Alaska. One of his customers, the one who was supposed to receive the intercepted package, started cooperating with authorities and outed Sadler as a popular source for cocaine, heroin, and meth on Silk Road. Four men were arrested in the U.K. on drug related charges, with the BBC reporting more arrests are on the way. Two men were also arrested in Sweden for selling weed on Silk Road.
What's unclear is how big a part the FBI played in these arrests. They allegedly nabbed a Silk Road server in their Ulbricht takedown, meaning they would have troves of information on some users. How far these shakedowns may extend — whether any major narcotics dealers will be busted, and where those operations may be based — will be something to watch over the next few weeks. This is likely just the beginning.