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
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Web Hosting Support Agent

    £17100 - £20900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...

    Guru Careers: Business Development Manager / Sales

    COMPETITIVE +Benefits: Guru Careers: A Business Development Manager / Sales (w...

    Recruitment Genius: Project Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is looking to recruit a highly ex...

    Recruitment Genius: UX Content & Publications Manager

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You'll be producing compelling ...

    Day In a Page

    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
    Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

    That's a bit rich

    The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
    Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
    Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

    Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

    Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
    Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

    Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

    Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests