The Silk Road was finally brought down by the feds after operating for almost three years. Ross Ulbricht, known as Dread Pirate Roberts, was the kingpin of this multi-million-dollar online drug bazaar. His recent October arrest was what ran the Silk Road’s illicit dealings aground, never to set sail again. This story of hitmen and heroine, stings and busts, has made international headlines; however, very little is still known about exactly how DPR met his doom and the Silk Road came to its abrupt end.
While Ulbricht made quite a few mistakes, perhaps the most influential of those was recruiting ‘The Employee’. The identity of ‘The Employee’ is highly speculated upon, but recent investigations into the Silk Road’s timeline suggests the ‘The Employee’ may have controlled username: chronicpain – as it was suggested at the “Silk Road tales and archives” which can be found here: http://antilop.cc/sr
Chronicpain registered and began working with Silk Road on June 6, 2011. It did not take long, before chronicpain started taking on administrative roles in the operation. This begs questions, concerning if he had known DPR or other administrative members prior to his registration. Nevertheless, it is certain that chronicpain was an integral member of Silk Road’s administration.
Sometime in November of 2012, DPR hires an individual who was referred to as ‘The Employee’. The individual was responsible for handling disputes, questions and concerns, as well as investigating possible law enforcement activities on Silk Road. Mere weeks later, an individual by the username, flush, registered an account on the Silk Road forum. The correlation of activities between chronicpain’s last post, and flush’s first –in addition to the sudden nature of how flush accepted an administrative role on the site– suggests that both usernames may have been controlled by ‘The Employee’. In addition, these events happened within the same month.
The Ides of January
According to a source on Silk Road, DPR said that they had found a lucrative opportunity with a major seller, who was obviously an undercover agent for law enforcement:
“Undercover agent complains about Silk Road buyers wanting “very small amount” and “it really isn’t worth it for him to do below 10kg”.”
Perhaps because DPR may have been blinded by the possibility of a large transaction, he did not suspect that the seller was actually an undercover agent. The Pirate set out to find a buyer. On Dec 8, he succeeded:
“DPR replies to the UC “Hey, I think we have a buyer for you. One of my staff is sending the details”. “
It is at this point when ‘The Employee’ gets involved, and DPR sends him to be the middleman, providing the undercover agent the real-world address to ‘The Employee’s’ house. Flush’s activity effectively stops on Jan 26, 2013. Incidentally, we read DPR’s post on the same day:
“Dread Pirate Roberts tells Undercover Agent “The Employee got busted! Also, he stole funds from Silk Road users. Beat him and get the money back, kthxbai”. “
It is believed that ‘The Employee’s’ cover is blown, but DPR does not realize that the seller was the undercover agent, who busted him. After that, all trace of ‘The Employee’ goes dark, and all activity from flush completely stops. Chronicpain’s last connection with Silk Road happens on Feb 11, 2013, which is the day after, the undercover agent informs DPR that ‘The Employee’ is being tortured. The suspicion that chronicpain and flush are the same individual, and that ‘The Employee’ is now working with law enforcement has apparently not occurred to Silk Road members and DPR.
It would later be reported that DPR hired the undercover agent, paying him $80,000 to torture and kill ‘The Employee’. Of course, this didn’t happen, but DPR believed that it did, as the undercover agent sent staged assassination pictures for proof of the accomplished hit.
The events in the timeline (http://antilop.cc/sr) appear to provide unusual coincidences, suggesting that chronicpain and flush are the same. In addition, the similarities between the two handles, from bragging about poker to their affinity for opiates, and especially character traits, and writing styles suggest that this might be the case.
Part II of this series will go one step further, assuming that chronicpain and flush are the same person; and also breaking into the real world to possibly discover the actual identity of ‘The Employee’: the man who was key in bringing down the Silk Road.