Target 11 investigates illegal items for sale online

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PITTSBURGH —

It’s the black market of the Internet where you can find everything from illegal drugs to fake passports to counterfeit merchandise.

A Target 11 investigation into the site Silkroad uncovered dozens of illegal items for sale.

“It’s like an Ebay for criminals basically,” said computer security expert Rick Wallace.

The site makes it tough to track who’s buying and selling.

Users access Silkroad through a special browser that conceals their identities.

They then pay for items using an online currency called bitcoins.

“There's no ability to trace money. There's no ability to trace who you are talking to. Really it could be anywhere in the world,” explained Wallace.

While surfing Silkroad, Investigator Rick Earle found a Pennsylvania identification card complete with a name and phone for sale.

“If you were to go through the airport and TSA would shine a light, it would work,” said Wallace.

Earle also found a Netflix account, a Rolex Watch and a guide to hacking an ATM.

A CMU study estimates 600 sellers are reeling in an estimated $1.7 million a month.

All of these items are typically shipped through the mail and that’s where the federal agency comes in.

“It’s definitely a problem,” said postal inspector Tammy Mayle.

Mayle said while there is no open investigation into Silkroad. Her office is always on the lookout for illegal drugs, child pornography and other illegal items shipped through the mail.

In fact, last year her office seized more than 103 packages of narcotics, mostly marijuana.

“We seek out people who send these packages and receive them, people that trade these types of items, through the mail and through the internet,” she said.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, vowed to shut down Silkroad but so far these attempts have been unsuccessful primarily because everyone operates anonymously.