Inside the FBI’s search for Ross Ulbricht, dark web kingpin of Silk Road

Through never-before-seen footage and in-depth interviews,  “The FBI Declassified” takes you inside the minds of heroic federal agents and analysts as they reveal how they solved some of the biggest cases of their careers.

Produced by Caroline Sommers and Emily Bernstein 

In 2011, the FBI became aware of an online black-market website, Silk Road, where users could buy and sell goods, including illegal drugs and weapons — even murders for hire were discussed. The site was run by an individual known only as the Dread Pirate Roberts, named after a character from the classic film “The Princess Bride.” An elite FBI cyber taskforce worked to infiltrate the site and identify its founder: Ross Ulbricht, a 29-year-old computer science engineer.

Ross Ulbricht
Ross Ulbricht

Julie Vie/Vivian’s Muse

Silk Road, accessed anonymously by users on the dark web, brought in approximately $1 billion in sales, according to investigators, with Ulbricht making millions by taking a cut of each transaction.

“Silk Road was the Amazon of drug sites,” says former FBI Special Agent Milan Patel.

The investigation led FBI agents from Iceland to New York to San Francisco in search of the shadowy figure behind the website.

“They trafficked in – anything you could get in the black market – poisons, things like that,” says Vincent D’Agostino, an FBI agent with the cyber division.

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