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Online Narcotics Store 'Silk Road' Is Showing Cracks 330

Posted by Soulskill
from the until-the-internet-routes-around-the-cracks dept.
pigrabbitbear writes "It always sounded like a hoax, didn't it? Silk Road: an Internet website where you can buy any drug in the world? Yeah, right. But it's real. It was almost two years ago that we first heard about the site, which hosts everything from Adderall to Ketamine, LSD to MDMA and tons and tons of weed. After it started to pick up a ton of press and exposure, we all thought that certainly the Silk Road would get shut down. It's super illegal to sell drugs or even to help people sell drugs. But it didn't. Silk Road survives to this day. However, with the arrival this week of the first conviction of a Silk Road-related crime, you have to wonder if Silk Road's days might be numbered after all. The trouble is brewing in Australia, where a guy named Paul Leslie Howard is facing as many as five years in prison for selling drugs on Silk Road. We're not talking millions of dollars worth of drugs, but we are talking about thousands of dollars worth. And just as Silk Road natives had feared, Howard was one of those Silk Road n00bs who read a newspaper article about the site and decided to try it out for himself."
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Online Narcotics Store 'Silk Road' Is Showing Cracks

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  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:25PM (#42764851)

    Trusting that the person you are buying from or selling to is not a cop or is actually going to provide what they claim seems insane. If you are a buying you have to give a place to send the drugs and a seller has to get those drugs to that place. Either option seems fraught with chances to get caught.

    This violates every idea about never getting caught; everyone you don't know is a cop, all phones are tapped, etc.

  • 'n00b' ? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:30PM (#42764905)

    You misspelled 'idiot'.

  • by schneidafunk (795759) on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:57PM (#42765293)
    There are plenty of things on Silk Road, which are completely legal. Silk Road exists for its anonymous feature, not necessarily illegal.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @05:25PM (#42765539)

    I can get an ounce of marijuana for $40 and it ain't bad. Alone that would last me over a month. There is no way in hell I would ever have to steal to support my habit.

    If I am so goddamn broke that I cannot afford $40 a month for Pot then I am doing something so horribly wrong that theft would not solve my problems.

  • by Githaron (2462596) on Friday February 01, 2013 @05:25PM (#42765547)

    Getting taxing drug sales is just a way of getting more people to consider the argument. Here are the better arguments.

    The fact of the matter is that people who want to do drugs, do drugs. They will find a way to get access to them. Because it can only be sold by shady individuals, it is easy for these dealers to push harder drugs or spike their drugs with more dangerous elements. In other words, you are making the health risks even worse than they were already by banning drugs. If drugs were legal, they could be make by reputable companies that have something to loose if they make bad products.

    Black markets form around banned products that are in demand. Since drug dealers cannot go to the police with their problems, they take matters into their own hands. This causes a lot of violence between the various dealers. By removing the ban, you can potentially decrease the violence (and collateral damage) associated with drugs.

    Because their is a high risk associated with dealing/making drugs, drugs can be priced at a premium. This is why gangs and cartels use drugs to fund their enterprises. By making drugs legal, you lower the cost of drugs such that gangs and cartels can no longer justify taking the risk. You essentially defund the gangs and cartels. Without funds, they become significantly smaller threat to society.

    All in all, if individuals are going to do drugs anyway, wouldn't you rather it be out in the open instead of a dark hole? In the open, the government has some level of control over it, it can be made as safe as possible, and bring in some level of income. In a dark hole, it will fund violent crime, be extremely costly and futile to stop, and be increasingly unsafe.

    Societies best way to stop drug use it not to ban it but to educate in order to change cultural norms. Look at smoking. At no point did we ban it but a significantly lower percentage of people use it today than they use to. Of course, banning is easier and it makes people feel good. People don't usually like to take the hard (but effective) route. They want a easy solution right now.

  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Friday February 01, 2013 @05:30PM (#42765607)
    You are making a lot of mistakes. One, you are assuming that drug users don't already have steady jobs. At least in regards to marijuana smokers, all of them I know have jobs except for a few students.

    Two, while it is true that legal drugs are not necessarily cheap, a competitive market that isn't taxed or regulated to death is going to be considerably cheaper, especially if such actions result in the loss of control by cartels.

    Three, you seem to think that the legal availability of drugs will result in increased drug abuse. The opposite is probably the case. Being legalized means that addicts can more openly seek treatment. I've also seen some good arguments that legalization of cocaine would pretty much destroy the meth market.
  • by oakgrove (845019) on Friday February 01, 2013 @05:30PM (#42765609)

    Get this [torproject.org]

    Then, go here: silkroadvb5piz3r.onion

  • by oxdas (2447598) on Friday February 01, 2013 @06:11PM (#42766003)

    It is legal to grow your own plants and transfer up to a ounce of pot to another person in Colorado (passed last election). The government has until July (if I remember correctly) to come up with the framework for the full retail sale of Marijuana. Washington state is also working in a framework to sell legal pot.

  • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Friday February 01, 2013 @06:13PM (#42766021) Homepage Journal

    Category | Pct.
    -----------------
    Weed | 13.7%
    Drugs | 9.0%
    Prescription | 7.3%
    Benzos | 4.9%
    Books | 3.9%
    Cannabis | 3.6%
    Hash | 3.4%
    Cocaine | 2.6%
    Pills | 1.9%
    Blotter (LSD) | 1.8%
    Money | 1.7%
    MDMA (ecstasy) | 1.6%
    Erotica | 1.6%
    Steroids, PEDs | 1.5%
    Seeds | 1.5%
    Heroin | 1.5%
    DMT | 1.4%
    Opioids | 1.4%
    Stimulants | 1.2%
    Digital goods | 1.1%

    Items sold stat from http://arxiv.org/abs/1207.7139 [arxiv.org] (research conducted about SR)

    There may be a marginal legit use, but the vast majority of items is illegal, mostly contraband drugs. And if you read the site's wiki it is clear that they aim for "illicit activities".

    It is surprising though that the largest market seems to be "soft drugs" and meds (probably pain killer addictions).

  • Re:FUD (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @07:26PM (#42766841)
    This.

    I use Silk Road regularly in Australia, and the site gives you all the mechanisms you need to stay protected on the electronic side of things. You're still stupid if you think that importing MDMA and Cocaine from overseas and having it go THROUGH CUSTOMS is a good idea. The site even says "Hey guys, don't ship this shit to your name or a post box that can be linked to you because surprise surprise, COPS CAN OPEN YOUR MAIL!"

    There are many great sellers that do the importing for you in Aus. The cost is higher, but that's the cost of not having the risk of going through customs. Silk Road is not "dying" just because of one idiot being exactly that. I will continue to buy off Silk Road safely, because I'm not retarded and know how to follow simple instructions.

    Anon Coward for obvious reasons....

  • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Friday February 01, 2013 @07:46PM (#42767045) Journal

    All the "pot heads" I know are engineers (and various other professionals). They all turn up to work on time. They all do a good job. They are all interested in working for a living. And I bet half the people you know who are "reliable", "responsible" and all other sorts of things ending in -ible also have smoked or do smoke pot.

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