APL Colloquium

March 2, 2018

Colloquium Topic: Silk Road Online Black Marketplace Investigative Case Briefing


In early 2011 an anonymous online black market website known as Silk Road was launched giving anyone online immediate access to purchase illegal drugs, weapons, hacking tools, and other illicit items. Silk Road utilized several anonymization platforms such as The Onion Router (TOR), encrypted communications, and Bitcoin to protect its criminal enterprise. Special Agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) spent more than 2 years investigating the website in an effort to shut down the website and arrest its administrator known as the Dread Pirate Roberts.

HSI Special Agent Jared Der-Yeghiayan was the lead case agent and went undercover working as a Silk Road administrator for its last few months of operation. This briefing provides a first-hand account of the investigation that brought down the Silk Road, and provides a minute-by-minute account of the operation that led to the arrest of the site’s administrator the Dread Pirate Roberts!

Colloquium Speaker: Jared Der-Yeghiayan

Jared Der-Yeghiayan is currently a Special Agent with DHS Homeland Security Investigations on detail to the HSI Cyber Crime Center located in Fairfax, Virginia. Agent Der-Yeghiayan started his law enforcement career in 2003 as a Customs and Border Protection Officer at Chicago O’Hare International Airport where he served as a member of the Counter-Terrorism Response Team and the Passenger Enforcement Rover Team.

In 2010 Agent Der-Yeghiayan transitioned over as a Criminal Investigator with Homeland Security Investigations assigned to the Chicago Resident Agent In-Charge Office for Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Based on small drug seizures being discovered at the Chicago O’Hare mail facility, Agent Der-Yeghiayan led the HSI investigation that shutdown the notorious online black market site Silk Road in 2013. In 2014 Agent Der-Yeghiayan led the subsequent investigation Silk Road’s successor site Silk Road 2.0 that was combined in with the global HSI-led operation known as Operation Onymous resulting in seven online black markets including Silk Road 2.0 being seized. In 2016 Agent Der-Yeghiayan ran the investigation which resulted in the shutdown and seizure of the illicit torrent file sharing website Kickass Torrents, which was responsible for over 1 billion dollars’ worth of loss to copyright holders.