4 lessons drug dealers should learn from Silk Road

1. Silk Road is NOT a system of trade and cultural transmission

Silk Road was cleverly named after a historical network of trade routes between Europe, India, and China during the Han Dynasty from 206 A.D. and 220 A.D.

But Silk Road in this case refers to a black market website that sold illegal goods and services to users.

Registered users could illegally purchase heroin, cannabis, LSD, fake IDs, weapons of mass destruction and even hit men by bidding anonymously.

Since being created in February 2011, Silk Road has been known as the “eBay for drugs.”

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2. Never Agree To Be Paid in Bitcoins

Bitcoin is peer-to-peer virtual currency that was introduced in 2008 for people to purchase services on the Internet without going through a bank.

Using these digital coins prevents double spending and controls transactions much easier.

Silk Road used this method of payment so that their users could purchase illegal goods with little traceable evidence, and they receive the money directly.

Once the Silk Road domain was seized, federal agencies retrieved about 26,000 bitcoins, estimated to be worth over $4 million.

 “This absolutely absurd, black market drug dealers should not be profiting this much!” said Veronica Ingham, a sophomore political science major at the College of Charleston.

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3. Do not do business with a man whose alias references “Princess Bride”

Creator and mastermind behind this online black market is 29-year-old Ross Ulbricht, virtually known as “Dreads Pirate Roberts”.

Ulbricht’s virtual identity originates from a character in the novel and film “Princess Bride”. No one character is “Dread Pirate Ross” but instead the name is passed on from person to person along with their reputation.

According to his LinkedIn profile, the California native describes himself as an investment advisor and entrepreneur.

Ulbricht graduated the University of Texas at Dallas with a BS in physics and even went on to pursue his master degree in material science and engineering at Penn State.

“It is shocking that a man this educated could manage an illegal business and almost get away with it,” said Stephanie Collins, biology major at the College of Charleston.

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4.  When the FBI gets involved, it’s time to get out of the business

The Federal Bureau of Investigations had been monitoring the Silk Road website since June 2011 when Gawker published an about it.

Once the article was published, the sites traffic increased tremendously simply from the “internet buzz”. More than eight big-time dealers were busted and convicted with drug trafficking worldwide.

Finally on Oct. 2, the FBI shut down the domain of Silk Road and Ulbricht was arrested in the San Francisco public library for alleged drug trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering.

“I am glad Silk Road has been shut down but there are probably other black market websites doing the same things, they just have not been caught yet,” said Kinsey Rogers, a senior and international study major at the College of Charleston.

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– by B. Taylor Johnson

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