A man in Wales has pleaded guilty to drug-related charges in a case stemming from the closure of dark marketplace Silk Road 2.0.
29-year-old Cei William Owens of Aberystwyth pleaded guilty to five charges at the Swansea Crown Court on Monday – supplying or offering to supply class A and B drugs, as well as three counts of possession, according to Wales Online.
Owens, who allegedly sold magic mushrooms and cannabis on the site, was arrested as part of a National Crime Agency operation last year. Five other individuals across the UK were also arrested.
No deal with prosecutors was involved. Owens was warned by Judge Keith Thomas that “all options remain open” with his sentencing, despite the guilty plea.
Owens will be sentenced on 24th July, and has been released on bail.
Silk Road continued
Shortly after the demise of the original Silk Road marketplace in October 2013, a successor named (appropriately) Silk Road 2.0 sprang up in its place.
It lasted for exactly a year before being shut down as part of the FBI’s ‘Operation Onymous’, a massive operation in November 2014 by law enforcement worldwide which resulted in the seizure of a number of dark market sites, over $1m worth of bitcoin and large quantities of cash, precious metals and drugs.
There were 17 arrests across 17 countries involved in the operation. Although the operation targeted a range of 414 ‘illicit sites’ living on the anonymous Tor network, only 27 were marketplaces and only 15 were involved in drug trafficking.
Silk Road 2.0 and its operator ‘Defcon’ were said to be primary targets of the operation. A marketplace called “Silk Road 3.0” immediately replaced it, but was later denounced by users as a scam.
The authorities still have some way to go before winning the war on online drugs. Dark web news site DeepDotWeb now lists 45 active marketplaces still operating on the Tor network.