Brian Farrell was accused of participating in the management of Silk Road 2.0, a copy of the original drug marketplace shut down three years ago. According to the court papers, Farrell confirmed he took part in operating the site during the search at his home in Bellevue, Washington.
Silk Road 2.0 was created in 2013 just few weeks after the original site, Silk Road, was closed. It allowed visitors to anonymously acquire illegal items and services using the digital currency.
On Friday, Farrell was sentenced to eight years in prison by US District Judge Richard Jones. The man admitted he was involved in distributing drugs, such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, via the website.
The marketplace was closed last year after “Operation Onymous”, a cybercrime operation that seized 410 drug market websites and arrested 17 people during the raid. At the time, the website had nearly 150,000 users, while its sales volumes amounted to around $8 million.
In March, the 27-year-old man was pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to sell drugs via the website, following a raid at his residence in Washington. Federal agents searched his home in 2015 and seized computer media, different prescription medications, computers, three handguns and silver bullion bars estimated at about $3,900 and $35,000 in cash. All the cash and silver bullion will be forfeited to the government.
In 2015, Silk Road founder, Ross Ulbricht, was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in jail on several charges, including money laundering and drug sale. Although his attorney asked for a new trial, the judge denied it, saying the evidence of Ulbricht’s guilt was overwhelming.
Ulbricht was handed two life sentences, a 15-year sentence, a 20-year sentence and a five-year sentence. As prosecutors informed at the time, Silk Road generated about $200 million in sales.
Farrell has also confirmed that he operated the website under the moniker “DoctorClu” together with forum moderators and online administrators. He was the main assistant to Blake Benthall, the operator of Silk Road 2.0 who was arrested by Manhattan authorities in November 2014. During the first court appearance, Benthall also admitted he administrated Silk Road 2.0.
After Farrell’s arrest last year, it appeared that he was among the suspects from dark web identified after the attack on Tor network launched by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). The SEI discovered about 78 IP addresses, which accessed Silk Road 2.0’s .onion address. One of the addresses led to Farrell.