A key administrator of the underground web marketplace Silk Road 2.0 has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
On Friday, a judge handed down the sentence to Brian Richard Farrell, who in March pleaded guilty to one count of distributing illegal drugs including heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine.
Federal authorities first arrested Farrell back in January of 2015 when they received information he had been involved in Silk Road 2.0, a copycat version of the original Silk Road marketplace.
Investigators shut down Silk Road back in 2013. Approximately one year later, they took down Silk Road 2.0 and arrested its operator Blake “Defcon” Benthall as part of a sting against popular drug markets known as “Operation Onymous.”
Silk Road 2.0 was generating approximately $8 million at the time it was seized by authorities.
“The Silk Road model presents a new threat to public safety and health,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Woods in court documents. “The website expands the serious drug market to all reaches of the country, and indeed the world. The website reaches those who are too apprehensive to conduct a deal on the street, or those, say in rural areas, who may not have a direct drug supplier. This new frontier is dangerous—and a clear message needs to be sent that those who peddle their poison on the internet—face serious penalties.”
Following his arrest, Farrell told investigators he had served as a “key assistant” to Benthall in managing the day-to-day operations of Silk Road 2.0.
Those tasks included tending to the site’s source code, commission rates, and profits; approving new vendors and staff; and allegedly organizing a denial-of-service (DoS) attack against a competitor, notes Lisa Vaas of Naked Security.
In addition to receiving prison time, Farrell is required to forfeit several items including computers, drug paraphernalia, silver bullion worth $3,900, and $35,000 in cash.
Blake Benthall has denied creating Silk Road 2.0 and has yet to be sentenced.