The Baltimore Sun tells the backstory of Operation Marco Polo, which ended last month with arrests on three continents in connection with the Silk Road, the world’s most popular online drug market. Federal authorities in Baltimore worked for a year to breach the inner circle of Silk Road’s kingpin, whom they knew only by the alias Dread Pirate Roberts. The takedown began with an arrest in Utah of Curtis Clark Green, a senior administrator with wide access to Silk Road’s inner workings.
Green’s arrest led agents to Ross William Ulbricht, the man now accused of running the site. Agents crept in to nab Ulbricht in a San Francisco public library, began draining online accounts connected to the site and slapped a notice over the Silk Road login screen: “This hidden site has been seized.” Ulbricht is due Thursday in federal court in New York. The Sun said the collapse of Silk Road traces back to 2011 and a drug bust in Harford County, Md.