Without a doubt, one of the absolute best investigative journalists plying the trade today is Adrian Chen of the online news outlet Gawker.com. He has been relentless in exposing the dark and tawdry side of the internet, and now he’s exposing the violent, dangerous and criminal elements of it.
It’s been eight months since we exposed Silk Road, the underground online marketplace where you can anonymously buy any drug imaginable. After our article, a couple U.S. senators declared war on Silk Road. But it hasn’t been shut down. It’s bigger than ever, and now you can buy a Glock with your LSD.
Yesterday, Betabeat pointed out that Silk Road still exists, and is still home to hundreds of users openly trading illegal drugs using the nearly-untraceable hacker currency Bitcoins.
So I fired up my TOR anonymizing network browser, which is the only way to visit Silk Road’s unusual URL, to see what was new with the site. What was new was guns: Back when we broke the story in June, Silk Road’s anonymous administrator said he wouldn’t allow weapons to be sold on the site. But since then, an entire subcategory for firearms has sprung up.
He goes on to provide a list of all the real firearms that are available for purchase with untraceable pretend money…from a basic Beretta 9 mm to an Uzi to a 9 mm assault pistol with a silencer.
One of the most well-regarded vendor of firearms is a user named Dbush, who sells guns from the U.S. and Mexico and has 100% feedback from over 100 transactions. (Those weren’t all guns; he also sells meth, LSD and ecstasy.) Dbush’s user profile on the site boasts he can procure “AK pistols, AR15 pistols, and many tactical style guns. Additionally regular style shotguns, rifles, and handguns are available.”
Dbush told us in a message that most of his customers are Europeans trying to circumvent their countries’ strict gun laws. “Every single citizen should have enough firepower that the government fears the citizens. The people should not fear the government,” he said.
Dbush said he tries not to sell guns to people who want to kill civilians or commit crimes. But most importantly, he won’t sell to people who are anti-American or anti-Israel. “I would try to keep their money if I found out this was the case. Maybe send it 2 the US Israeli lobby 2 help gain more support for Israel,” he wrote.
A patriotic meth dealer with unwavering support for Israel. Awesome! There’s gotta be a country lyric in there somewhere just bustin’ to get out!
The addition of firearms to a site dedicated to facilitating the act of getting high has sparked a lot of discussion on the site’s boards and forums, but it hasn’t slowed it’s growth any, nor has the notoriety that the site has received in the wake of Chen’s original article a few months ago. The illegal drug side of the business is booming, in spite of politicians calling on federal agencies like the FDA to shut them down.
You can bet that after Chen’s firearms expose this week that the same politicians who wanted the FDA to shut them down last week have the ATF on speed-dial this week.
[This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters’ mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism. The fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.]