Silk Road Kingpin Ulbricht Gets Life Without Parole

A US judge has thrown the full weight of the law at Silk Road kingpin Ross Ulbricht, sentencing him to life in prison without the chance of parole for his role in founding the billion-dollar darknet site.

US district judge Katherine Forrest gave Ulbricht the most severe sentence possible on Friday – more than even prosecutors had called for, according to Wired.

The 31-year-old Texan was facing at least a 20-year stretch. However, the seven felony charges he was convicted of, including conspiracy to traffic narcotics and launder money, alongside ‘kingpin’ charges normally used for the heads of organized crime gangs, in the end got him far worse.

He’s also been told to pay ‘restitution’ of a staggering $183m – the value of the drugs and other contraband sold through Silk Road, as estimated by the prosecutors.

“The stated purpose [of Silk Road] was to be beyond the law. In the world you created over time, democracy didn’t exist. You were captain of the ship, the Dread Pirate Roberts,” Forrest said during sentencing.

“Silk Road’s birth and presence asserted that its… creator was better than the laws of this country. This is deeply troubling, terribly misguided, and very dangerous.”

Ulbricht’s lead attorney, Joshua Dratel, argued that sentencing was “unreasonable, unjust, unfair and based on improper consideration with no basis in fact or law.”

His team will now appeal, and call for a new trial, in part due to new allegations that two former federal agents in Baltimore stole bitcoins during their investigation into Silk Road and that one even tried to blackmail Ulbricht.

Launched in early 2011, Silk Road became one of the dark web’s largest and most profitable marketplaces for drugs and other contraband.

Ulbricht was arrested in October 2013 in a San Francisco library and the Tor-hosted site was seized by the FBI.

However, it has been superseded by several imitators including Silk Road 2.0, many of which continue to operate successfully on the darknet.

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