The US courts have seized over 29,655 Bitcoins worth $28m from the notorious Silk Road cyber black markets, following the arrest of its alleged founder Ross William Ulbricht.
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the news in a statement confirming the funds were seized for suspected use in a number of criminal activities, including the facilitation of money laundering.
"With today's forfeiture of $28m worth of Bitcoins from the Silk Road website, a global cyber business designed to broker criminal transactions, we continue our efforts to take the profit out of crime and signal to those who would turn to the dark web for illicit activity that they have chosen the wrong path. These Bitcoins were forfeited not because they are Bitcoins, but because they were, as the court found, the proceeds of crimes," said Bharara.
The funds were reportedly taken from a server seized after Ulbricht's arrest. Ulbricht, who is believed to have used several pseudonyms online including Dread Pirate Roberts, was arrested by the FBI in October 2013. The court filing charges Ulbricht with conspiring to traffic narcotics, hack computers and launder money.
Ulbricht is believed to be the founder of the Silk Road cyber black market. Before the arrest and server seizure Silk Road was a deep web black marketplace only accessible through the Tor network. In its heyday the market was known to facilitate the trade of class A drugs and hosted tutorials on a variety of illegal activities, such as how to make explosives and hack bank machines. Ulbricht has filed a claim against the court action.
UK authorities also arrested four men believed to have been involved in the Silk Road marketplace in October, a week after the FBI detained Ulbricht.
Many experts have since said the Silk Road shutdown will have little impact on the cryptographic Bitcoin currency. Experts from Intel Security, formerly known as McAfee, said in October that the currency's semi-anonymous nature makes Bitcoins too useful for criminal groups to ignore.
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