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Fall of online drug bazaar began with tip in Maryland

Bust in Harford was crucial as agents worked on Silk Road case

November 19, 2013|By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun

At around the same time, the FBI made another major step forward, obtaining a complete image of a Silk Road server hosted in another country. Authorities said that image gave them a look at all messages and transactions on the site. 

How the FBI tracked down the server, which should have been masked in the Tor system, and exactly how critical it was to unmasking Ulbricht are still unexplained. The FBI New York office declined to answer questions for this article.

"There are a number of theories flying around, some even include the use of [National Security Agency] exploit tools to hack into Silk Road," said Runa A. Sandvik, a researcher at the Tor Project. "I am hoping we learn more during Ulbricht's trial." 

Authorities also found a LinkedIn page for Ulbricht. They wrote in the charges against him that it showed clues to his hidden life, including that he was "creating an economic simulation" believed to be Silk Road

Ulbricht was arrested in October. Silk Road was seized and shut down, and charges were announced against a number of other users of the site. 

Among them was Green, who pleaded guilty to a drug charge in Baltimore this month. 

iduncan@baltsun.com 

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