LONDON (AP) — Authorities in Britain, Sweden, and the United States have arrested eight more people following last week's closure of Silk Road, a notorious black market website which helped dealers to sell drugs under the cloak of anonymity, officials and media said Tuesday.
In the U.K., the country's newly-established National Crime Agency warned that more arrests were on the way.
Most if not all the arrests took place within a couple of days of last week's capture of Silk Road's alleged mastermind, Ross Ulbricht, in San Francisco, suggesting that authorities may now be busy unraveling the network of drug dealers who made fortunes peddling illicit substances through the site.
Britain's National Crime Agency said it had seized millions of pounds (dollars) worth of bitcoins, the electronic currency used on the site, and the agency's director general, Keith Bristow, said in a statement that other online drug dealers should expect a knock on their door.
"These latest arrests are just the start; there are many more to come," he said.
Silk Road gained widespread notoriety two years ago as a black market bazaar where visitors could buy and sell hard drugs using bitcoins, a form of online cash which operates independent of any centralized control. A so-called "hidden site," Silk Road used an online tool known as Tor to mask the location of its servers. While many other sites sell drugs more or less openly, Silk Road's technical sophistication, its user-friendly escrow system and its promise of near-total anonymity quickly made it among the best known.
Officials say the black market website brokered more than $1 billion in sales before the FBI collared Ulbricht at a public library on Oct. 1. In its complaint, the bureau said it had managed to copy the contents of the site's server — something one expert said would likely provide international authorities with detailed information about the site's dealers.
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