back to article Bloke, 26, accused of running drug souk Silk Road 2.0 cuffed by Feds

A California man accused of running Silk Road 2.0 – a copycat drugs market hidden within the Tor network – has been arrested by the FBI. The website has since been torn down by Uncle Sam's agents. The Feds and the US Department of Justice claim 26-year-old Blake Benthall of San Francisco used the alias "Defcon" when operating …

Anonymous Coward

Mmm...

The FBI doesn't get tired? Well nor does the idea that a human should be free to put whatever substance they choose into their own bodies. Take a guess which one of us is going to win?

31
9

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Re: Mmm...

So you're saying the time in a comma should be a short period??

14
2

Re: Mmm...

"The FBI - because when you put to much of the wrong substance in your body you wind up dead"

Like cheese burgers?

20
1

Re: Mmm...

" a human should be free to put whatever substance they choose into their own bodies. "

Lemme tell you what the problem with that is. People often become addicted to substances to which they can not afford to be addicted. I haven't heard of a lot of junkies being able to support their habits for long out of their own savings and incomes, y'know? And since society at large is going to have to clean up the mess eventually, it's their prerogative to outlaw addictive drugs if they want to.

Now, I might be in favor of letting people use whatever drugs they want if they first agreed to surrender their civil rights, and if they show that they can afford to finance their drug addictions without resorting to crime, and, furthermore, not only should there be no obligations for the government or society to deliver any medical care (or any other care of any kind) to such people but that any charity given to junkies be not only not tax-deductible, but heavily taxed.

7
19

Re: Mmm...

" The FBI doesn't get tired? " Neither do Bolivian peasants. Makes you wonder.

8
0
Facepalm

Re: People often become addicted to substances to which they can not afford to be addicted.

Quite right. A good thing that we've long since outlawed sugar, alcohol, and nicotine.

7
2

Re: Mmm...

I haven't heard of a lot of junkies being able to support their habits for long out of their own savings and incomes, y'know?

Keith Moon immediately springs to mind, although anyone on this list also qualifies.

Had you forgotten that drug abuse is just as rife in high society, or do you conveniently blank that fact from your mind and assume any "junkie" must be living in squalour and stealing to feed their habit? Investment bankers do coke, barristers can be alcoholics and CEOs can have big opiod habits. Remember to line them all up and strip them of their civil rights* while you're out ridding the world of evil junkies. ;)

*It is my considered opinion that anyone who calls for civil rights to be removed for a particular group, does not understand what civil rights are or what they are for. If you are seriously advocating that "junkies" should have no right to safety or right to life, then all you are doing (IMO) is showing your ignorance and bigotry. Don't worry, I will still fight to the death to ensure your own right to safety and freedom of expression, because I firmly believe these are inalienable rights for all sentient beings. :)

11
1
Silver badge

Re: Mmm...

" I haven't heard of a lot of junkies being able to support their habits for long out of their own savings and incomes, y'know?"

That'd be boozers and smokers then --- addiction to ANY drug means a person is a junkie - not just the ones carefully picked and chosen to be non-legal.

How about those on prescription meds? - not junkies?

Skins, lighters and baccy are all taxed by the way.

7
2

Re: Mmm...

@turtle, we already have those exact rules. It's called being a celebrity.

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Mmm...

> Now, I might be in favor of letting people use whatever drugs they want if they first agreed to surrender their civil rights

Your post is a smorgasbord of idiocy. You conflate 'use' with 'abuse' with 'addiction'. They are not even close to being the same things.

Furthermore half the reason addicts have to turn to crime is that they have to buy from a black market at inflated prices because dicks like you insist that drugs should be banned.

5
2

Re: Mmm...

>>Lemme tell you what the problem with that is.

No, lemme tell you what the problem with you is.

Drugs are great, I mean, really, really good, they can make you feel amazing, this is why lots of people do them, and the difference between getting smack at a grimy den with vaguely clean needles and doing a few of lines of coke in the club is about £150 - it's not a drugs problem, it's a demographics problem, if all you have in your life that makes you feel good is drugs, that's all you'll do.

When smack is cheaper than beer society has a problem - and it's not caused by the drugs, they are just a symptom, attempting to regulate a symptom will never work.

Personally I don't do (illegal) drugs, but that's because I'm busy doing other stuff, I do occasionally get fucked up on beer but only when I can have a bit of a lie in the next day, on the occasions when I drop off a sandwich and a couple of quid to a homeless person do I wonder if the money will go towards some kind of pharmaceutical recreation because they have nothing better to do, yea maybe, but I wouldn't want to deny them their only pleasure.

5
3

Re: Mmm... what if one were to take what you wrote seriously..

I take it that you also favor mandatory diets and exercise programs for everyone who would like to use the public health care services. One the same argument you outlined.

3
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Mmm...

If you want to do that then buy and move to your own island. Don't expect free medical care or any assistance.

Until then you're not free to do whatever you like since it has an impact on your health meaning (at least in the UK) a cost to the state for fixing your fried brain.

3
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: People often become addicted to substances to which they can not afford to be addicted.

All of which are affordable compared to drugs.

Try holding down a decent job and using lots of drugs. You might not see the change in yourself but others will.

3
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Mmm...

Where's Keith Moon now? oh he's dead.

Same as other big wealthy drug users, Kurt Cobain, Brian Entwistle....

Yes people die from alcohol abuse too. But it may take a lifetime of abuse to kill them. Unless of course they use drugs as well, eg. Winehouse.

4
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: Mmm... what if one were to take what you wrote seriously..

Yep bring it on.

Many people with depression would also be better going outside, walking in the wilderness, seeing some sights. Not doped up on anti-depressants.

0
2

Re: Mmm...

.. ... / - .... .- - / .-. . .- .-.. .-.. -.-- / -.-- --- ..- / --. --- -.. ..--..

I was part of Reagan's war on drugs in the 80s, we were going to eradicate them. Did it not work then, where did it all go wrong?

0
0

Re: Mmm...

Where's Keith Moon now? oh he's dead.

Same as other big wealthy drug users, Kurt Cobain, Brian Entwistle....

Where is Mick Jagger now? Oh he's alive. Same as other big wealthy drug users, Johnny Depp, Kate Moss, Drew Barrymore... drugs don't necessarily kill you. I've heard hospitals even use them a lot on patients to keep them alive; morphine is a controlled substance with a long medical history.

Where is Winston Churchill now? Oh he's dead. Same as other influential role models, Ghandi, Albert Einstein... death is inevitable. Developing far-reaching physics theories, or preaching tolerance and non-violence, will leave you just as dead as shooting your own head off with a shotgun like Mr. Cobain (he did not die from controlled substance abuse, he died from suicide, which can kill people who have never even seen a controlled substance).

Until then you're not free to do whatever you like since it has an impact on your health meaning (at least in the UK) a cost to the state for fixing your fried brain.

Alcohol is a drug. Alcohol is only trivially controlled (age limits on purchase, but no limits on amount purchased) and is not considered a "controlled substance". Alcohol costs the NHS (the UK health service) over a billion pounds per year.

Over a billion pounds a year to combat the damage done by a completely legal substance that is ubiquitously available here in the UK. How can you reconcile that with the view that controlled substances are controlled because of the damage (both individually and to society) that they cause? If that were truly the case then ethanol should be a Class A, surely?

7
1
Silver badge

Re: Mmm...

"Over a billion pounds a year to combat the damage done by a completely legal substance that is ubiquitously available here in the UK. How can you reconcile that with the view that controlled substances are controlled because of the damage (both individually and to society) that they cause?"

But what revenue is obtained from alcohol in the UK? Around £9bn in 2010. Much harder to OD on too. Got to allow the proles something in their lives.

How much of that cost is down to fights that occur? I bet they make it onto the statistics despite the fact that typically such arseholes would want a fight with someone irrespective of alcohol. Booze just makes you a more obvious prick than what you already were.

1
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: AC Re: Mmm...

".....because dicks like you insist that drugs should be banned." That would be the majority of voters. Deal with it. If you want to change the minds of the majority I would suggest you try something more intelligent than calling us 'dicks'.

0
1

Whoops !

"That revealed all sorts of configuration data and Blenthall's email address, apparently, leading the Feds to his doorstep."

I'm fairly confident that rule 1 of operating something like this would be to assume that at some point the authorities will have access to the server. Leaving your email address behind is surely making things a bit easy for them.

13
0
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: Whoops !

Rule #1 is to NOT hire an FBI undercover informant when setting up shop in the first place.

12
1
Black Helicopters

Re: Whoops !

Though it's quite possible that incompetence played a part, I don't exclude parallel construction. That is to say, it's possible they located this guy based on classified capabilities, then worked backwards to find a plausible alternate explanation for how they found him.

It's convenient they found the server that was presumably only accessible via Tor, isn't it? We glossed over that part and jumped to an allegation of an email address in the server config someplace.

8
2

Re: Whoops !

It's convenient they found the server that was presumably only accessible via Tor, isn't it?

It is impossible to run a marketplace without traders and customers, so you are going to have to tell someone about it. It is simply a matter of time before the details will end up with law enforcement, either through someone squealing as part of a plea bargain, or through an undercover op inadvertently getting an invite (some of them are crafty buggers).

Sure, potentially the entire TOR network is compromised, but IMO it is far more likely that human error is the culprit, because that takes far less effort.

2
1
Silver badge

Re: Whoops !

Yes but you give the traders etc the hidden service URL (i.e the .onion).

Mapping a .onion back to a physical server is bastard hard, misconfigurations and fuck ups aside.

Its not like giving out a traditional domain where a quick nslookup will give you the servers IP.

In principle (again, fuckups aside), you should be able to give a fed a .onion address without that meaning you've given them any details about your server.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Whoops !

Though it's quite possible that incompetence played a part, I don't exclude parallel construction.

I do. Complex highly technical highly secret work breaking a system built for anonymity vs complacency and stupidity. I pick basic human failings every time.

0
0
Big Brother

Tin Foil Hattery

Chances of NSA involvement?

I want it to be zero but what about that feinstein bill that went through?

3
1
Silver badge

Moral?

Would one of the lessons learned here be to NOT name your trafficking site "Silk Road"?

But did he return the stolen $2.7 Million? If not, I'm wondering if the FBI had some "help" from someone who lost a chunk of Bitcoin.

1
0
Silver badge
Happy

Re Mark 85 Re: Moral?

"Would one of the lessons learned here be to NOT name your trafficking site "Silk Road"?....." Well, remember, you'd be dealing with junkies, you need to keep it really simple to attract that kind. Chances are the majority of their 'customers' really were so thick they never thought the FBI would make the connection.

3
9

Re: Re Mark 85 Moral?

Junkies tend not to buy their drugs through a sophisticated website using an advanced form of digital currency...

12
2
Silver badge

Re: Re Mark 85 Moral?

I believe Andy is right, Matt. Both Silk Roads were (as I understand it) used by dealers and suppliers. Given the amount of money.. er... commodity being transferred, they wouldn't deal with one junkie who might be an informer.

2
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: Moral?

Surprisingly, he did apparently refund at least a large portion of the stolen bitcoins. I visited their forums once or twice (purely as a technological curiosity of course), and a number of sellers were there confirming they had indeed got their bitcoins back.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Re Mark 85 Moral?

"Junkies tend not to buy their drugs through a sophisticated website using an advanced form of digital currency..."

Quite right, it's usually a shop called something like 'Booze and Fags' or 'Tesco'.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: Re Mark 85 Moral?

As I understand it, after the first Silk Road, a lot of the 'traders' and customers started using PGP for their comms. Doesnt sound much like a group so thick they thought the feds would never raid again.

In fact to me you sound more like a prejudiced tit swiping a broad brush over a community (loosely termed) he knows fuck all about.

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Another one bites the dust

The scum and the dumb are slow to comprehend that authorities will find you, prosecute you and throw you in prison for your crimes. It's all just a matter of time.

5
16
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Another one bites the dust

And like a Hydra two new heads will take its place. Eventually you end up in a situation where there are so many markets that it becomes more than a full-time job for law enforcement. I live in a decent neighborhood here, the police sub-station is four short blocks away, yet I go right around the corner and can buy any drug I desire. Their priorities are on more important things.

If they were at all serious about this, they'd attack the sources. After all, the world's leading producer of opium is Afghanistan and they've tripled their fis. Ditto other places. (I happen to live in the meth capital of the world.) So this is FBI theatre.

11
3
Silver badge

Re: Another one bites the dust (@ Jack of shadows)

"If they were at all serious about this, they'd attack the sources."

That's worse than useless. When you neutralize a source, the price of the substance in question goes up, providing incentives for other places to become new sources. Take a look at what happened with cocaine. The more pressure you put in producers and importers, the more incentives for other parties to enter 'the market'.

Can anybody think of a way to stop this vicious cycle? And no, "Kill all the bad guys!!!" doesn't work.;-)

5
1

Re: Another one bites the dust

How to get the criminals out of the business? Legalize it all. Pretty much anyone that wants drugs can get them already; the downside is limited. The more illegal something is, the sketchier the people involved and the greater the profits. What's the street price of zucchini?

21
1
Silver badge
Pint

Re: Another one bites the dust (@ Jack of shadows)

There are things you can do with genetic engineering but there's be hell to pay. So long as there is demand and a supplier, you'll have a market should the agree upon the (real) price. I could trot out all pithy libertarian dogma but what's the point. I've been places where the mere use of a controlled substance gets you a bullet to the back of your head. If that can't stop the trade, nothing will. (We had to bribe the locals to get one our guys back before he was tried. I hope he preferred Club Fed.)

3
0
Unhappy

Re: Another one bites the dust (@ Jack of shadows)

Actually, according to either the book Freakonomics or Superfreakonomics (the sequel) if governments really wanted to stop the drug problem in society they would execute drug users publically . Few people would risk using drugs in that scenario and the few who did would be eliminated so problem solved. However, most people don't have the stomach for this kind of stuff so the best solution is the Libertarian solution of legalizing drugs (think of this humane solution more as damage control). I'm a Libertarian so I agree with the legalization of drugs not the public executions.

1
4
jjk
Facepalm

Re: Another one bites the dust (@ Jack of shadows)

Yeah, public executions. And how many thieves did that deter in the UK, at the time when theft of goods worth more than twelve pence was a capital crime?

9
1
Silver badge

Re: Another one bites the dust (@ Jack of shadows)

Or more recently, how many peddlers does it deter in the various far eastern countries where it is a capital crime.

The war on drugs is a failure and has been for a long time. Not that I pretend to know the solution mind

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Another one bites the dust

Oh let me see the choice of two things:

1. Something legal.

2. Something illegal.

Which will I go for?

Legalisation will increase consumption, no doubt about it.

Just because something isn't being eliminated by being illegal isn't an excuse to give up. Why not legalise child abuse as the laws aren't stopping it?

3
4
Silver badge

Re: Another one bites the dust

Because consumption has risen in Countries/States that have relaxed or outright legalised some of what we consider Class C/B drugs right? Wait it didnt.

If you're suggesting that the only thing stopping most people from doing drugs is the fact its illegal, you're fooling yourself.

Drugs are illegal because they are perceived as harmful to society. Problem is, a lot of the common examples of harm are a direct result of them only being available through the black market.

There are good arguments on both sides, the problem is that no adult debate is happenning at a level that can make a change. The obvious example is cannabis - is it really right to destroy the life of a teenager because they were caught with 1/8 of weed

2
1
Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Another one bites the dust (@ AC, whenever*)

"Legalisation will increase consumption, no doubt about it."

On the contrary, there are lots and lots of doubts

"Just because something isn't being eliminated by being illegal isn't an excuse to give up. Why not legalise child abuse as the laws aren't stopping it?"

You dare to equate drug consumption -which is mainly a victimless crime, or at most a crime where the criminal is already punishing himself- with child abuse? In which universe do you live?

*note: Please ElReg, bring back the old date system for the comments. If you do it, I wow to name my firstborn after you**. Think of the free publicity!!! ^_^

**note: ElReg Mephistrez is a nice sounding name, isn't it? :P

1
1

Another own goal

So the authorities would rather have you buy drug in an alley from some thug who knows you have cash in your pocket.

Also they hate competition... they would rather you buy product from their corrupt sources than safe anonymous sources.

Oh well it will be a few months till Silkroad3

7
5
Gold badge

"Chances of NSA involvement?

I want it to be zero but what about that feinstein bill that went through?"

Maybe, but I think it is more simply, the Feds know Tor exists now. Tor itself may anonymize, but if you see some traffic on the first hop *and* last hop before the destination, it's possible to correlate that data and determine the source and destination. For any given user, since Tor chooses a random path, one would have to run quite a few Tor nodes to have much chance of having the same packet pick one of their nodes for both first and last node; for a heavily trafficed site, you might not need many Tor nodes and much time at all. Tor may have kept him anonymous, but he left his contact info sitting on that server, that probably made him pretty easy to track down!

2
0

...and computer hacking

Drug trafficking, I understood. What was that charge about hacking? Is using TOR a hacking crime? Is hacking your own computer a crime? Is hacking a server VM you 'own' a crime?

1
0

Re: ...and computer hacking

Reading the document, it seems to be that because Silk Road 2 was used to sell tools used for "hacking", he is providing a means for these crimes to be committed.

2
0

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018