The FBI has shut down the anonymous ‘Silk Road’ US website used for dealing illegal drugs and other criminal activities and arrested owner Ross William Ulbricht.
Ulbricht, 29, was arrested during a raid in San Francisco and $3.6m worth of virtual currency Bitcoin was seized.
According to the charges filed against Ulbricht, Silk Road generated sales of more than 9.5 million Bitcoin, which is the equivalent of around $1.2bn.
The website has been online since 2011 and was described as “the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the internet today,” by FBI agency Christopher Tarbell.
The site is alleged to have been used by more than 900,000 registered users to buy and sell “hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs”, according to charges.
Ulbricht used the alias ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ or ‘DPR’ on Silk Road forums and he holds an advanced degree in chemical engineering.
He has been charged with one count each of narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.
The criminal filing also alleges that the site offered tutorials on hacking ATM machines and contact lists for black market connections while users could also access guns – and even hit men – for sale.
The value of Bitcoin dropped after the charges were revealed on Wednesday, according to Reuters.