Here Is the DEA's 'Personal History Report' on Silk Road from 2011
The record shows exactly when the investigation opened.
Motherboard has obtained the Personal History Report on online drug market Silk Road from June 2011, when the investigation into the site began, through a Freedom of Information Request filed through Muckrock.
The FOIA request, which targeted "documents referencing The Silk Road anonymous marketplace, Ross Ulbricht, or Dread Pirate Roberts," yielded 387 pages of information, of which the government withheld 382.
The Personal History Report, most of which is left blank, shows the federal investigation into Silk Road began shortly after Senator Chuck Schumer called for the site to be shut down in 2011. Only days after Gawker published an article introducing Silk Road into the mainstream, Senator Chuck Schumer called for the DEA and Department of Justice to shut down Silk Road immediately.
"Literally, it allows buyers and users to sell illegal drugs online, including heroin, cocaine, and meth, and users do sell by hiding their identities through a program that makes them virtually untraceable," Schumer said at a press conference at the time. "It's a certifiable one-stop shop for illegal drugs that represents the most brazen attempt to peddle drugs online that we have ever seen. It's more brazen than anything else by lightyears."
The next day, an investigation was officially opened into Silk Road. The Department of Justice declined to confirm the connection between the Schumer testimony and the date of the investigation. The documents also show the investigation was upgraded to a "Priority Target Investigation" on September 20, 2011. Silk Road was shut down in October of 2013.
The initial Personal History Report, along with the rest of the FOIA response, is below.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated the investigation as opening on June 15; it was actually June 6.