Many people have never heard of Dread Pirate Roberts unless they are fans of the cult classic "The Princess Bride." After the arrest of Ross Ulbricht on Tuesday, the name has essentially become a household name. Ulbricht is accused of using the character name as a cover to orchestrate one of the largest online drug rings in American history.
The website known as Silk Road, is allegedly an encrypted website where users can purchase a wide variety of illegal drugs, including cocaine, LSD, and Molly (pure MDMA). The website gained notoriety because of users' ability to purchase drugs anonymously.
According to an Associated Press report, FBI agents had been investigating Ulbricht and Silk Road for more than a year. In that time, the site is alleged to have generated more than $1 billion in revenue.
While details about the online scheme are still being developed, it is believed that Ulbricht's trail was discovered when he began posting information about Silk Road on other websites that were being monitored by federal agents. As this occurred over time, they began to build a cadre of information that eventually linked Ulbricht to the site.
According to court filings, Ulbricht was finally discovered when he ordered fake documents from a Canadian vendor that was intercepted by customs agents. He was arrested in San Francisco, and will be extradicted to New York to face federal charges. The primary task for federal prosecutors in making their case will be linking Ulbricht to his online persona, which is predicted to be no easy task.
Source: ABC News.com, Man charged with online drug scheme due in court, October 3, 2013