Utopia no more: Drug marketplace seen as the next Silk Road shut down by Dutch police

The 'dark web' marketplace offered drugs and other illegal goods for sale and was seen by some as the hier to infamous Silk Road

A ‘dark web’ website selling illegal goods has been shut down, leading to the arrest of five people.

The site, Utopia, which only launched earlier this month, was already selling over a 1,000 products. Illegal drugs, counterfeit goods, and chemicals were amongst the items available to purchase.

The website was hidden to the mainstream web and was only accessible through the Tor anonymity network. The website was taken down on Tuesday, although the forums are apparently still in operation.

Dutch police arrested five men last week after an investigation, codenamed Commodore, was launched in early 2013.

Two men were arrested from the eastern Netherlands city of Encschede. The men are suspected of drug and arms trafficking on anonymous Tor sites, including Utopia and another site called Black Market Reloaded.

A 29-year-old man from Utrecht and a 46-year-old Dutch national are also suspects, as the police believe that they were also involved in the black market site.

In addition, German police have arrested a 21-year-old man suspected of trafficking weapons and narcotics through the ‘dark web’. In a statement the Dutch police stated that they believe the man sold drugs, as well as stolen credit cards and ammunition. 

A screenshot of the type of wares available on utopia. Credit: DeepDotWeb

Undercover police agents were able to purchase narcotics and firearms on the site - including several thousand ecstasy pills and cocaine by the kilo. The agents were also horrified when they were paid a deposit to assassinate a person.

Dutch police seized 900 bitcoins as a result of the arrests (valued at more than £300,000), as well as external hard drives and USB sticks.

Technology news site DeepDotWeb released images of products being sold on the website, which revealed that the drug ecstasy was being sold, as well as ketamine. The website originally reported the launch of the website, suggesting that it would be “the biggest competition for Silk Road 2.0”.

The Silk Road marketplace was shut down in October 2013 by the FBI. The alleged owner, Ross William Ulbricht, was arrested on suspicion of money laundering, drug trafficking, soliciting murder, and facilitating computer hacking.

The FBI claimed in a statement to have seized 173,991 bitcoins in connection with the Silk Road case, which they valued at a staggering $33.6 million.

At the time of the arrest, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “With his arrest and our subsequent seizures of millions of dollars worth of Silk Road’s bitcoins, we have sent a clear message to him and everyone else running criminal enterprises on the dark web: we are determined and equipped to hold you to account.”

Payments were made in bitcoins, a digital currency, to mask the identity of both the buyers and sellers on the hidden website.

However, it did not take long for ‘Silk Road 2.0’ to open in November last year. But the legal clampdown by authorities did not take long - with Forbes reporting in December that three members of Silk Road 2.0 had been arrested.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
people Ex-wife of John Lennon has died at her home in Spain
News
Nick Clegg on the campaign trail in Glasgow on Wednesday; he says education is his top priority
peopleNick Clegg remains optimistic despite dismal Lib Dem poll ratings
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Support - Surrey - £24,000

    £20000 - £24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Support Helpdesk / 1st L...

    Recruitment Genius: Field Engineer

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has 30 years of ex...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Account Manager

    £27000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing cloud based I...

    Recruitment Genius: Front End Web Developer - Magento

    £28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Front End Web Developer is re...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

    War with Isis

    Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
    Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

    A spring in your step?

    Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

    Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
    Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

    Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

    For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
    Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

    Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

    As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
    The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

    UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

    Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

    Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
    Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

    Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

    If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
    10 best compact cameras

    A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

    If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
    Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

    Paul Scholes column

    Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
    Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
    Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?