Ross Ulbricht, the man responsible for creating the largest black-market on the internet, has been found guilty of operating the Silk Road website under the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts.” The illicit online marketplace was created in 2011 and facilitated the purchase of illegal narcotics through the use of Bitcoin, which made transactions untraceable.
Ulbricht escaped murder charges
On February 04, a jury in Manhattan took less than four hours to find Ulbricht culpable for seven charges brought against him; including money-laundering conspiracy, narcotics-trafficking conspiracy, computer-hacking conspiracy and running a criminal enterprise. The website creator has a legion of fans, many of which protested against his arrest throughout the trial.
The jury was told how the underground hub, which operated in multiple countries around the world, had generated $213.9m in sales and a further $13.2m in commission. Despite being accused of ordering the assassination of a Silk Road user that had blackmailed him, Ulbricht escaped murder charges as the crime had not actually been carried out.
Ulbricht’s arrest in October 2013 was made while he was logged into the website as “Dread Pirate Roberts” in a San Francisco public library. Sentencing is due to take place on May 15; some say Ulbricht may face a life sentence, which entails a compulsory 20-year term. A statement by defence lawyer, Joshua Dratel, has confirmed that an appeal will be made.
Judge Katherine Forrest prohibited Dratel from calling experts witnesses, saying that the defence had failed to give prosecutors enough time to prepare. “I think it would have been a very different outcome if the jury had been permitted to hear all the evidence,” the defendant’s mother, Lyn Ulbricht, had told Bloomberg.