Silk Road pusher jailed for four years

A Los Angeles man who used dark web forums including Silk Road to sell narcotics has been jailed for four-and-half years, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced.

William James Farber, 43, who received his sentence on October 27 after a long road to justice that began with his arrest in 2017, used Silk Road to flog marijuana, cocaine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, psilocybin, MDMA, LSD, and ketamine.

After Silk Road was taken down in 2013, Farber and his criminal associates, who together formed the dark web vendor PireFireMeds, moved to AlphaBay, changing their alias to Humboldt Farms.

“It became one of the largest vendors on AlphaBay, completing tens of thousands of orders for marijuana on the site to customers throughout the United States,” said the DoJ.

One door closes, another opens

The US case comes to a conclusion just as a similar one has opened up in Germany, with the arrest there on October 25 of a 22-year-old student accused of masterminding the latest incarnation of a German-language version of Silk Road.

As well being implicated in facilitating countless narcotics sales, Germany on the Deep Web has even darker connotations, after it was found the dark web forum supplied the man responsible for the Munich shootings of 2016 to procure the firearm used in the attack on random shoppers in the Bavarian city.

Farber was brought to justice with the assistance of Los Angeles police and the Department of Homeland Security, while the unnamed suspect in Germany is being investigated by federal police in Lower Bavaria.

Heads of the hydra

Germany on the Deep Web was shut down in 2017 after being linked to the Munich attacks, but resurfaced in two further guises the following year, running the tagline “no control, everything allowed.”

The suspect being held in Munich is believed to have been operating the latest version of the German dark web trading platform. If convicted, he stands to share his predecessor’s fate: the former operator of Germany on the Deep Web was jailed for seven years in 2018.

Items of evidence seized during his arrest, which came after a months-long undercover police operation, included data carriers, cellphones, and computers.

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