The Deep Web

An arrest in San Francisco reveals an unpoliced corner of the Internet

To his two roommates, "Josh" seemed like a regular guy, living much of his life online like many other Bay Area techies. But to federal authorities, Ross Ulbricht, 29, was far better known as Dread Pirate Roberts, owner and creator of Silk Road, thought to be the Internet's largest marketplace for illicit drugs.

Visitors to Ulbricht's highly encrypted site could browse the wares of thousands of dealers, buying LSD, cocaine and other narcotics using bitcoin, an untraceable Internet currency. Silk Road would then deliver the drugs--or the fake IDs, hacking software or automatic weapons also for sale there--by mail. In return,...

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