Silk Road Founder Has Been Sentenced To Life In Prison
The man behind the illicit online marketplace, Silk Road, has been sentenced to life in prison. Ross Ulbricht was found guilty earlier this year on seven charges related to the website he created. Silk Road was an online marketplace where users could buy various kinds of illegal drugs.
Judge in #SilkRoad case just eviscerated Ross Ulbricht’s harm reduction arguments and sentenced him to life in prison.
— Kari Paul (@kari_paul) May 29, 2015
Ross Ulbricht’s website was handling millions of dollars worth of drug transactions. According to The Verge, the FBI had traced $13 million from Silk Road to Ulbricht’s bitcoin wallet. Before the site was shut down, $214 million worth of drug transactions were handled through it.
Silk Road was able to operate by using the anonymity tool Tor. Tor is a tool that enables anonymous communication, and can be used to build a supposedly untraceable website. As CNN notes, users of the website paid for drugs using bitcoin, a digital currency that isn’t easy to track.
The judge presiding over the case made it apparent that she wanted to make an example of Ulbricht. The Silk Road mastermind was found guilty on seven counts that included narcotics conspiracy, money laundering, and continuing criminal enterprise. His minimum sentence could have been twenty years. In a letter sent to his judge, Ulbricht pleaded for a light sentence.
“I will know firsthand the heavy price of breaking the law and will know better than anyone that it is not worth it. Even now I understand what a terrible mistake I made. I’ve had my youth, and I know you must take away my middle years, but please leave me my old age. “
Families of Silk Road users who died as a result of doing the drugs they bought off the website were present at the hearing. One man identified as “Richard” testified that he believed had Ulbricht not created his website, his son wouldn’t have died.
Federal prosecutors told the judge that Ulbricht’s actions had made access to illegal drugs easier than ever before.
“The site enabled thousands of drug dealers to expand their markets from the sidewalk to cyberspace, and thereby reach countless customers whom they never could have found on the street.”
Since Silk Road was taken down in 2013 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, many more copycat services have popped up. Because of so many clone websites, the Justice Department asked the judge to hand down a harsh sentence to scare others from trying to replicate Silk Road.
[image via freeross.org]