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Dark web drug dealer jailed for 5 years after rebooting notorious Silk Road website

FBI agents shut down the first incarnation of the Silk Road site in October 2013.

Thomas White
Thomas White
Image: CPS

A DARK WEB drug dealer has been convicted after rebooting the notorious trading website Silk Road, which was shut down by the FBI. 

Thomas White (24), from Liverpool, was jailed today for a total of 5 years and four months at Liverpool Crown Court.

He played the leading role in resurrecting the website, where anonymous users bought and sold drugs, and negotiated other criminal activities using online currencies.

At an earlier hearing, White admitted to assisting or inducing the commission of an offence abroad, in relation to the drug-dealing on the new Silk Road 2.0 website.

He also admitted supplying class A drugs, money laundering and the possession of 464 indecent images of children of category A on another encrypted laptop seized at his home.

“Thomas White thought he could get away with any crime under the cloak of anonymity, be it selling illegal drugs or viewing horrific images of children,” John Williams from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Dark web sites give criminals shelter to carry out serious illegal activities – the CPS is committed to working with our partners to shut these sites down and punish criminals like White.

Arrest

After FBI agents shut down the first incarnation of the Silk Road site in October 2013, and founder Ross Ulbrich, who called himself ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’, was jailed, White, who had been helping with security for the site, took on Ulbrich’s mantle.

Branding himself Dread Pirate Roberts 2, and using the online name StExo, he created Silk Road 2.0.

White was arrested in November 2014 after an investigation led by the National Crime Agency.

“Although Thomas White used anonymity and pseudonyms to try and cover his tracks, the CPS was able to show that he was the guiding mind behind the building of Silk Road 2.0,” Williams said. 

Copies of backups of Silk Road were found on an encrypted laptop seized from White’s flat following his arrest in November 2014, along with crypto-currency Bitcoin relating to Dread Pirate Roberts 2.

Parcels sent to StExo, the online user name featured on Silk Road 2.0 also ended up at his home address in Liverpool and a rented mailbox.

“He received an income that allowed lavish spending with no credible explanation. He had also provided money laundering advice and sold MDMA on the original Silk Road site,” Williams said.

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