Ross William Ulbricht, 29, the founder of Silk Road, was arrested of conspiracy to engage in narcotics trafficking, money laundering and computer hacking. Prosecutors in Maryland separately accused Ulbricht of attempted murder for paying $80,000 to have a former employee killed.
Prosecutors describe Ulbricht as a criminal mastermind who built an illegal drug empire that they estimated had $1.2 billion in sales over the last three years, earning him $80 million. Silk Road acts as a matchmaker between dealers and buyers worldwide. Thousands of dealers advertised on the site to dispatch their products U.S. mail. The site took a profit of each sale using the Bitcoin online currency.
The site is also a marketplace for firearms, ammunition and computer hacking services. The website requires users to install special software that concealed their identity and location. Ulbricht was arrested by FBI agents in San Francisco, the website was shut down and the Justice Department seized Bitcoin with an estimated value of $3.6 million. Ulbricht is being held without bail.