Tags: fbi | silk road | 2 | arrested

FBI Silk Road 2.0 Shutdown Unlikely to Stop Online Drug Marketplaces

By    |   Friday, 07 Nov 2014 09:55 AM

Though the FBI shut down Silk Road 2.0 and arrested its alleged founder this week, many other online drug marketplaces are likely to spring up in its place as the industry continues to grow overall.

"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. Let’s be clear—this Silk Road, in whatever form, is the road to prison. 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. We don’t get tired," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a press release.

The Washington Post's Wonkblog reported that online drug marketplaces continue to proliferate despite (or maybe because of) the police raids, the latest of which was codenamed "Operation Onymous" and was led by an international coalition.

According to data compiled by the Digital Citizens Alliance, the first Silk Road and three other major marketplaces operating on the so-called "darknet" had roughly 18,000 drugs listed just before being shut down. Six months later, there were 32,000 drug items for sale across 10 markets. By August of this year, there were 47,000 drug listings across 18 marketplaces.

Some policy makers say that the online drug marketplaces are good developments insofar as they reduce violence among street dealers, and allow users to avoid dubious substances by buying from sellers with positive feedback ratings on the sites.

"There's a strong argument to be made that shutting down darknet sites makes the world more dangerous overall. For starters, the emphasis on quality means that darknet purchasers are getting purer, safer product than they would otherwise. This would lead to lower harm and loss of life due to ingesting adulterated drugs," The Post wrote.

"More to the point, if you're buying drugs online you're not supporting local drug dealers and the crime and violence that typically accompany open-air drug markets, particularly in inner cities. By cutting those sellers out of the equation, you're seeing a net reduction in violence overall."

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Though the FBI shut down Silk Road 2.0 and arrested its alleged founder this week, many other online drug marketplaces are likely to spring up in its place as the industry continues to grow overall.
fbi, silk road, 2, arrested
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2014-55-07
Friday, 07 Nov 2014 09:55 AM
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