An Australian man has been extradited to the US to face trial for his involvement in the underground Silk Road website, where customers could buy illegal drugs, firearms and forged documents.
Peter Phillip Nash, 41, from Queensland was charged in December 2013 along with two other men, aged 24 and 25, with conspiracy to engage in narcotics trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering in relation to the website.
Silk Road was a website residing on the dark web, hidden from search engines like Google and only accessible through the Tor web browser, which hides the location and identity of users visiting the site. Drugs like heroin could be bought using the bitcoin cryptocurrency and delivered almost anywhere in the world.
"I confirm that Peter Nash was surrendered to the United States pursuant to a request for his extradition," a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Department told Reuters, without saying when Nash left Australia and when he faces trial.
Dark web explained
The dark web is a section of the internet that is not indexed by search engines such as Google, and not easily navigated to using a standard web browser.
Accessing the dark web requires specialised knowledge and software tools. An example of this is content only accessible by using the Tor software and anonymity network, which while protecting privacy, is often associated with illicit activities.
The spokeswoman added: "The United States sought Mr Nash's extradition for prosecution for conspiracy to traffic narcotics, conspiracy to commit computer hacking and conspiracy to commit money laundering."
The two other men were arrested in the US and Ireland and are alleged to have been administrators for the Silk Road website, while Nash is claimed to have been a primary moderator on the site.
As "support staff" to alleged Silk Road owner Ross Ulbricht, Nash and the two other men were paid salaries ranging from $50,000 (£32,000) to $75,000 a year.
Ulbricht, who was arrested in October 2013, coinciding with the closure of Silk Road by the FBI, faces charges of drug trafficking, money-laundering and computer hacking, and his trial is due to start in January.
Earlier this month, a replacement to the shuttered website, called Silk Road 2.0, was also closed by US authorities and its alleged owner Blake Benthall was arrested and charged with narcotics trafficking, as well as conspiracy charges relating to money laundering, computer hacking, and trafficking in fraudulent identification documents.