The mere presence of IP address evidence alone is not enough to link the case of Mannion with the attack on Tor over a year earlier. But other details point to the bust of the Irishmen being dependent on information obtained by CMU's SEI.
Firstly, Mannion and O'Connor were arrested on Nov. 5, 2014, according to a database of Dark Net arrests created by independent researcher Gwern Branwen. That’s the same day that the owner of Silk Road 2.0, the replacement for the infamous drug marketplace Silk Road, was arrested. The IP addresses of Silk Road 2.0 were provided to the FBI by a “source of information,” according to a search warrant in another case impacted by the attack on Tor, which court documents later confirmed was a university-based research institute.
The shuttering of Silk Road 2.0 was part of Operation Onymous, a multi-agency effort that also seized a number of other Dark Net sites.
Brendan English, a spokesperson for the Irish police, confirmed to the Daily Dot that the arrests of Mannion and O'Connor were also part of Operation Onymous. But he said “we are not in a position to comment” when asked about where the IP addresses provided to Irish authorities came from. The FBI declined to comment.
Regardless, the FBI's source of information also provided the agency with 78 individual IP addresses that accessed the vendor section of Silk Road 2.0, according to the same search warrant. The vendor section of the site was, naturally, only supposed to be known to, and accessed by, those selling products on the marketplace. Thus, Mannion was, presumably, a regular visitor to this section of the site, as he is a confessed Dark Net drug dealer.