Silk Road 2.0 shut down
The alleged homepage to Silk Road 2.0, the successor website to Silk Road, is seen in a screenshot labelled Exhibit A from a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal complaint filed against Blake Benthall November 6, 2014. Reuters/DOJ/Handout via Reuters

Federal authorities have nabbed an alleged former administrator of the Silk Road 2.0, the online drug market that was shut down a year after its predecessor was shut down. Brian Richard Farrell, 26, was arrested at his home in Washington state and allegedly admitted helping run the Silk Road 2.0 under the moniker “DoctorClu.”

The announcement Tuesday that “DoctorClu” had been arrested came after Blake Benthall was arrested in November 2014 after allegedly acting as interim operator of the Silk Road 2.0. The FBI described the site as “one of the most extensive, sophisticated and widely used criminal marketplaces on the Internet today,” which was used to sell drugs and other services between an estimated 150,000 users.

Benthall, a former SpaceX employee, stands accused of operating the site while using the screen name “Defcon.” When Farrell was arrested, authorities claimed, he admitted he was “Defcon’s right hand man.” He was also asked if he’d be willing to help identify other former Silk Road 2.0 members, to which he replied, “You’re not going to find much of a bigger fish than me.”

DoctorClu was interviewed by Ars Technica in June 2014, at which point he described the founder and leader of the Silk Road 2.0, who went by the name Dread Pirate Roberts, as “brilliant, egomaniacal and paranoid.”

The ongoing investigation into the Silk Road 2.0 and other drug sites hidden on what’s known as the Dark Net, the section of the Internet that can’t be accessed via traditional methods, coincide with the trial of Ross Ulbricht. Ulbricht, 30, was arrested in October 2013 and charged with operating the original Silk Road black market.