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Silk Road 2.0 creator Blake Benthall
Blake Benthall, the alleged creator of Silk Road 2.0@blakeisblake via Instagram

Dumb Silk Road 2.0 founder ‘admits to everything’

Blake Benthall doesn't sound like the sharpest tool in the darknet shed, TBH

The FBI announced yesterday that it had arrested the alleged founder of Silk Road 2.0, the darknet drugs marketplace that promised to resurrect the lawless spirit of the original Silk Road. As more details emerge about Blake Benthall, one thing's for sure: he doesn't sound too smart. At the least, he definitely knows that there's no wriggling out of his situation. 

Federal prosecutor Kathryn Haun reportedly said today at Benthall's first hearing that the 26-year-old programmer confessed to running Silk Road 2.0 immediately after being arrested by FBI agents in San Francisco. 

"Mr Benthall did admit to everything after receiving his Miranda rights – that he was the administrator of Silk Road 2.0," Haun told the court. 

The FBI shut down the site on Thursday afternoon, replacing its homepage with a seizure notice:

Benthall, who went by the name Defcon online, was nabbed after an undercover Homeland Security agent was able to gain moderator privileges to a private forum set up after the closure of the first Silk Road, where users were discussing the idea of setting up a 2.0 version. 

In May, federal agents found the server hosting Silk Road 2.0 in a foreign country and traced its alleged owner. In the criminal complaint against Benthall, the agent writes: "Based on a review of records provided by the service provider for the Silk Road 2.0 Server, I have discovered that the server was controlled and maintained during the relevant time by an individual using the email account"

That's right. Blake Benthall apparently used his own personal email account to set up an illegal darknet marketplace. You'd think after all the conspiracy theories flying around about the NSA helping the feds to take down the original Silk Road, he would have been a bit more careful about covering his tracks. 

The FBI says that further evidence links Benthall to the Defcon username, including IP addresses obtained from Google and physical surveillance of his activity.

According to Benthall's LinkedIn account, the programmer worked as a flight software engineer for SpaceX, the space exploration company run by PayPal billionaire Elon Musk. Most recently, he ran a tech incubator called Codespike out of his own San Francisco home. On his Twitter page, he describes himself as a "rocket scientist, bitcoin dreamer."

Benthall is charged with one count each of money laundering, computer hacking, trafficking in fraudulent IDs and conspiring to commit narcotics trafficking. If convicted, he could face life in jail.