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Silk Road 2.0: Global Sweep Shuts Down Hundreds More ‘Dark Market’ Sites

Image: The alleged homepage to Silk Road 2.0 seen in a DOJ criminal complaint

The alleged homepage to Silk Road 2.0, the successor website to Silk Road, is seen in a screenshot labelled Exhibit A from a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal complaint filed against Blake Benthall November 6, 2014. Benthall, 26, was arrested on Wednesday in San Francisco and was expected to make an initial court appearance in federal court there later on Thursday. HANDOUT / Reuters

The global crackdown on the Silk Road 2.0 and other black markets continued on Friday as federal authorities announced the seizure of more than 400 "dark market" website addresses and servers. The hundreds of .onion addresses shut down by authorities were used to sell illegal goods likes drugs and guns on the anonymous Tor network, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

"The global law enforcement community has innovated and collaborated to disrupt these ‘dark market’ websites, no matter how sophisticated or far-flung they have become," Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a news release.

The announcement comes the day after Blake Benthall, 26, was charged in a San Francisco court with conspiracy to commit narcotics trafficking for running a second version of the Silk Road marketplace. Authorities said around $8 million a month worth of everything from cocaine to LSD was sold through the Silk Road 2.0 site.

FBI shuts down largest illegal drug website 2:34

The takedown was part of a larger international effort that has resulted in the arrest of at least 17 people around the world for alleged involvement with a long list of black market sites including Silk Road 2.0, Hydra, Cloud Nine and Blue Sky.

In the U.K., six people were arrested in connection with the shutdown of Silk Road 2.0, Britain's National Crime Agency (NCA) announced on Friday. The five men and one woman were held on "suspicion of being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs," according to the NCA. Their computer equipment was confiscated for examination.

“The operation is ongoing and more arrests can be expected as we continue to investigate those involved in setting up and profiting from these illegal market places," Roy McComb, deputy director of the NCA, said in a written statement. "It may take time and effort to investigate and build a criminal case, but we are determined to identify and prosecute people caught dealing drugs and committing serious crime using the dark web."