American Kingpin: A Book on the Man behind the Silk Road

In 2011, a 26-year-old programmer by the name Ross Ulbricht yearned to create something that would reach the heights of global renown.

Driven by this need to succeed, the Texas-born Ulbricht would proceed to create Silk Road, a simple website hosted on a part of the internet known as the dark web.

The website initially served a purpose most deemed reasonable, if not salient. Ulbricht’s Silk Road started as a form of protest towards hypocrisy embedded deep into the system.

It made it possible for people to get access to psychedelic mushrooms and marijuana from a place that was well distanced from the government’s grasp.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road is BACK ONLINE NOW as Silk Road 3.1 and open for business. The team did a change and upgrade for a reason we can only assume for security.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.1 Guide <<

This idyllic utopia would not last long.

Book.
Nick Bilton speaks about his forthcoming book “American Kingpin,” which documents the rise and fall of the online drug marketplace.

‘American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road’ documents the journey of the young programmer and his brainchild, the Silk Road — throughout its growth, its eventual corruption and its inevitable demise.

Penned by New York Times bestselling author Nick Bilton, the book portrays not only the Silk Road’s development into a haven where cyber criminals could interact and conduct business undeterred, but also Ulbricht’s eye-opening transformation into a full-fledged crime lord who would willingly spill blood to protect his empire.

A Drug Empire Run from Coffee Shops

During Silk Road’s heyday, as Bilton learned through those involved in the drug-fueled enterprise, Ulbricht lived and worked from Glen Park, San Francisco, and would occasionally run his business from a number of coffee shops frequented by the writer.

According to Bilton’s account of the saga, one of the world’s biggest dark web empires was being operated under everyone’s noses.

Bilton drew from a number of sources in writing the book, including over two billion words in the form of private chats, images and journals that were left behind after Ulbricht’s arrest.

A building he habitually passed while walking, the Glen Park Library, would later become the place where the young programmer would be met with the arm of the law, as Bilton explained.

Dread Pirate Roberts

On his helm of power, Ross Ulbricht ran his business as Dread Pirate Roberts. This pseudonym might have been coined initially to serve as nothing more than a screen name but by the end of his tenure as creator of the original Silk Road, it had an ominous ring to it.

The bigger Silk Road grew, the more determined Ulbricht was to protect it, according to Bilton.

The corruption of the bright young mind was inevitable. By the time of its demise, Dread Pirate Roberts had made $1.2 billion in sales and an estimated $80 million in commissions.

Most of his wealth was stashed in bitcoin, the digital form of currency that made all transactions on the dark web possible, according to the FBI.

It was only a matter of time before money and power corrupted his morals.

Dread Pirate Roberts authorized a hit on one of his former employees, Curtis Green, who he suspected had been stealing from him.

Green had also been nabbed in a failed cocaine deal and now posed a threat to him and the continuity of his business as well.

Bilton captured the online exchange between Dread Pirate Roberts and Green’s would-be assassin, demonstrating that the former participant showed no remorse at all.

In fact, he claimed that Green’s lack of integrity had forced him into paying for his death.

Abominably, he retained a picture of what looked like a dead Curtis Green on his computer as proof of the murder.

Dread Pirate Roberts made his first and, ultimately, most consequential error in hiring an assassin who was actually an undercover DEA agent to do his bidding.

The Dark Web Thrives

Dark Web concept for inaccessible web addresses with white text - Dark Web - on a black enter key on a white computer keyboard viewed at a high angle with blur vignette for focus. 3d Rendering.
Driven by this need to succeed, the Texas-born Ulbricht would proceed to create Silk Road, a simple website hosted on a part of the internet known as the dark web.

Ulbricht has been referred to as the modern day Pablo Escobar many times after his arrest, a title befitting of a man who currently shares a prison with the infamous El Chapo.

The 33-year-old has already appealed his sentencing of life in prison and has a strong following behind him, spearheaded by his mother Lyn Ulbricht.

They believe the sentencing was too heavy-handed, an injustice committed on a promising young mind with ideas that could well usurp political state matters.

Ulbricht was ultimately sentenced as a mafia boss. This served as a warning to anyone who dared take the same path he did, a warning that remains unheeded.

Silk Road will forever remain a trailblazer; a template from which others can learn from to avoid making similar mistakes.

Darknet marketplaces have sprung and died, while others thrived to become ten times bigger and even more profitable than Ulbricht’s Silk Road.

Based far from the United States government’s reach, marketplaces such as AlphaBay may employ the same principles used by the now defunct Silk Road.

But they are ultimately more impenetrable and virtually untouchable. The dark web lives on.

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Former Silk Road Agent Waived His Right to Appeal His Case

In a surprising change of events, Shaun Bridges, who was appealing his six-year sentence for his actions during the takedown of Silk Road, has decided to waive his rights to do so – hence the counsel has decided to dismiss the case.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business.

The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

Silhouette of a mysterious man in a vintage style wide brimmed hat in a close up black and white head and shoulders portrait.
Shaun Bridges, who was accused of bitcoin theft during the Silk Road investigation, has chosen to waive his appeal with the judges having accepted it.

During a brief discussion by the three-judge panel, they went through the case and everything that had happened so far in association with Bridges, who is under custody for Bitcoin theft.

When Bridges applied for a waiver on his appeal, the panel didn’t have to think twice because it has already been part of the plea agreement submitted in 2015.

Charges include money laundering and obstruction of justice.

The hearing also allowed Davina Pujari to withdraw from her position as counsel for Bridges.

After going through the case, Bridges was awarded a 71-month sentence for his interference in the Silk Road investigation.

There is no respite from the period as the panel clarified that the defendant didn’t produce any pro se briefs or even an answer to support his appeal claim.

In their statement, they added that the person has already waived off his right to appeal.

There is no way to bring him out of conviction for his theft of Silk Road evidence, and the sentence that he is supposed to serve for the specified period.

The issue dates back to the first hearing and the appeal made by Bridges apart from the allegations that he agreed to having been involved in.

Bridges admitted during the August 2015 investigation that he made use of his position in the Silk Road task force to steal bitcoins.

According to his statement, the investigator made use of the administrative access to Silk Road and stole 20,000 bitcoins from various users who used to regularly purchase items on Silk Road.

In US currency, his Bitcoin theft was worth at least $800,000 at the time, which was diverted to his account.

When the allegations were proved with evidence, Bridges was sentenced to nearly six years in prison in December 2015.

Based on the court documents, it can also be confirmed that he had to forfeit $1.1 million and the agent, who is also the defendant, appealed after he was sentenced in the case.

Later in 2016, the public defender refused to represent Bridges because of conflict of interest, and the position was taken by Pujari to continue the appeal on behalf of the former investigator.

After Pujari took over the case, she went on to file a motion to withdraw in August.

In her appeal, she confirmed that the records have been examined, the case law and relevant statuses that the motion was based on had been verified.

The prosecutor made sure to explore all the possible ways that could deter Bridges from having his appeal getting sanctioned.

Vector of Bitcoin, hacker and its transaction.File contains Clipping mask, Transparency.
During a brief discussion by the three-judge panel, they went through the case and everything that had happened so far in association with Bridges, who is under custody for Bitcoin theft.

The case focused on Shaun Bridges transferring bitcoins from Silk Road in order to have a suspect in the case and to prove the illegal transactions Silk Road had been making.

A victim named Curtis Green was produced in the court, who was later termed as a ‘surprise victim’ who came out of seemingly nowhere and has been making rather drastic claims.

The judge panel opined that the legitimacy of the victim is questionable, and there is no point in trying to include their statements in the plea agreement.

Continuing with his plea agreement, Bridges argued that the surprise victim or the judgment will in no way affect his plea agreement, as it belongs to a different part of the law.

He further argued that the losses incurred during the alleged Bitcoin theft from Silk Road has been significantly increased, leading to the large sentence.

Bridges is not the first investigator to be accused of Bitcoin theft.

He is the second person, as the first complaint was filed against Carl M. Force – a special agent who worked with the U.S.

Drug Enforcement Administration. He decided to plead guilty in 2015. He was accused for the theft of $700,000 worth of Bitcoin with the help of his Baltimore team, and was sentenced to 78-months in prison.

Force and Shaun Bridges worked in the same team to take down Silk Road, a site on the dark web run by Ross Ulbricht, more commonly known by his pseudonym of Dread Pirate Roberts within the community.

The first federal prosecution took place in 2015.

Ulbricht, who was accused in the case for selling drugs and other illegal materials, was sentenced to life in person.

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Alleged Silk Road Admin Seeks a Supreme Court Appeal

It has been nearly four years since the Federal Bureau of Investigation shut down the original Silk Road, and cases related to the infamous darknet market are still in development.

An Irish man who has been accused of playing a vital role in the administration of the Silk Road market planned another appeal to the Supreme Court after his extradition to the United States was ordered.

US authorities want 28-year-old Gary Davis of Johnstown Court, Wicklow to face trial on charges of distributing narcotics, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to commit computer hacking.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business.The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

Gary Davis, the alleged Silk Road administrator, planned to appeal to the Supreme Court following the order for his extradition to the United States.

If Gary Davis were to be convicted in the United States, he faces the possibility of a life sentence.

Davis was indicted by the United States government in 2014 following the takedown of the Silk Road darknet market.

He has been out on bail since he was apprehended in January 2014.

His appeals have mainly focused on the fact that he suffers strongly from Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism.

Going by the details of the formal charge by the Dublin High Court, Gary Davis was accused of being a Silk Road administrator under the pseudonym “Libertas.” Silk Road is said to have enabled the dealing of drugs including but not limited to crystal meth, crack cocaine, marijuana, and cocaine.

Allegedly, Gary Davis received a weekly sum of $1,500 as compensation for his services at Silk Road.

This is according to a payment log discovered in a computer belonging to the incarcerated Silk Road founder, Ross William Ulbricht.

Davis’ responsibilities at Silk Road included addressing vendor queries and indexing the drugs for sale on the darknet market.

Two other administrators of the Silk Road, Andrew Jones (Inigo) and Peter Nash (SSBD), were also indicted by the FBI.

An Irish High court ordered for his extradition in August 2016.

Gary Davis filed an appeal against that order.

His appeal was dismissed by at the Court of Appeal by a three-judge panel in a final hearing on February 28, 2017.

Justice Alan Mahon confirmed that the law does not permit the appeal since its subject matter was not based on a point of law, although he did voice concern for Davis’ condition.

Davis was indicted by the United States government in 2014 following the takedown of the Silk Road darknet market.

He touched on the daunting nature of Davis’ incarceration, but made an assurance that his concerns would be addressed by US authorities within their mandate and capabilities

The panel ordered his extradition after deliberate consideration of evidence pertaining to Davis’ medical condition and the US federal prison system.

Due to his medical condition, Davis felt that detention in a US federal prison would be inhumane and degrading.

According to his representative at the Court of Appeal, John O’Kelly SC, individuals with a severe form of this syndrome rely heavily on the support of their loved ones.

He reiterated that extradition to the US would have a significant impact on his physical and mental well-being.

According to reports, psychiatrists Michael Fitzgerald and Simon Barron-Cohen both confirmed that Davis was indeed afflicted with severer Asperger’s Syndrome.

However, the initial proceedings at the High Court in 2015 revealed that the Silk Road administrator had not been diagnosed with the condition prior to his arrest.

Davis’ chief council, John B Peart, stated that the defense sought to appeal to the Supreme Court within the limited 15-day window following the court date.

This is the standard time period where authorities cannot extradite a defendant.

Reports indicate, however, that Davis acquired information about a possible early extradition.

Justice George Birmingham denied this claim forwarded by John O’Kelly.

Given the 15-day allowance to appeal a court decision according to extradition conditions, it is quite surprising that the US marshals picked up Gary Davis before the expiration of this period.

According to Davis’ solicitor, Lana Doherty, no information was availed relating to that development.

At the moment, there is no information on how the Silk Road administrator planned to plead in the United States.

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“Libertas” of the Silk Road Loses US Extradition Appeal

Irish citizen Gary Davis, 28, has been accused of assisting in the operation of the Silk Road.

The original Silk Road was a darknet market that allowed users to engage in trade of drugs and other illicit goods.

The now defunct Silk Road marketplace was popular for this kind of illegal trade largely due to its privacy and anonymity with the use of bitcoin as the predominant means of payment.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business.

The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

Irish citizen Gary Davis, 28, lost his appeal against extradition to the United States for charges associated with being a Silk Road administrator.

Gary Davis recently lost an extradition appeal in the US, where he is expected to face charges that relate to more than $200 million worth of drug sales on the Silk Road website.

Furthermore, Gary Davis is being accused by the US authorities of conspiracy pertaining the distribution of narcotics, to commit computer hacking, and to money laundering.

Davis may be facing life imprisonment in the event he is found guilty of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, let alone if the other charges are added on.

The Court of Appeal of Ireland noted that Gary Davis was allegedly earning $1500 every week for his services on the Silk Road market.

The evidence was supposedly quite substantive, and Davis was not obliged to make a plea in his hearing.

The Defense team’s argument

Gary Davis’ defense attorneys presented an argument on the basis that the judge who had ordered for Davis’ extradition the previous year had made a mistake in reaching a conclusion about Gary Davis’ mental condition, noting that he had Asperger’s syndrome, anxiety, and depression.

According to the court, these did not amount to a legitimate risk of a violation of his rights under the Irish law.

The Court of Appeal’s three-judge bench concurred with the extradition judge’s decision.

The court was of the stance that the United States authorities would adequately protect Gary’s mental and physical health.

The court also said that it had taken into consideration the issues that arose pertaining the extradition and imprisonment of Gary Davis.

Court of Appeal takes into consideration Gary’s mental and physical health

The Court agreed, however, that it would be a gruesome experience for a person who had strong mental health, let alone who had a mental health conditions like Davis, to go through extradition and subsequent imprisonment.

Davis, who was accused of aiding in the operation of the Silk Road darknet market, was taken into custody following his appeal against his extradition to the United States being dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

Davis’ defense lawyers have not yet revealed whether they would be making a further appeal to the Supreme Court of Ireland.

It was emotional for some of Gary’s family and friends who were present in court.

Davis briefly hugged some of his relations before he was put into custody.

The United States authorities claim that Davis was an administrator for the Silk Road website.

The charges that Davis will face carry a life sentence under American law.

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Drug Treatment Worker Who Sold Drugs on Silk Road, Pleads Guilty

Chicago drug treatment center employee, Kevin Campbell, is facing charges for selling drugs on Silkroad and other darknet marketplaces.

On February 3rd, 47-year old Kevin Campbell of Chicago pleaded guilty in a U.S. District Court in Seattle to charges for peddling illicit drugs on Silkroad, including heroin and prescription medications that led to the death of a 27-year old man living in Bellevue.

The Bellevue man died from an overdose after using heroin coupled with prescription drugs obtained from the Silkroad marketplace. Campbell is a drug treatment worker who decided to make some extra cash by selling heroin and prescription drugs on Silkroad, the infamous dark web marketplace. However, his get rich quick scheme turned into a tragedy following a customer’s overdose in August 2013.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

(>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<)

The Arrest

According to case record, the emergency crew received a distress call from a Bellevue home, where they found Jordan Mettee lying unconscious in his bedroom.

He was rushed to the hospital and was later pronounced dead. In Mettee’s home, the authorities found the Silkroad website open on his computer screen, which provided substantial evidence of where he had sourced the drugs and who the provider was.

A detailed exchange on the website between the vendor and the deceased revealed that Campbell was the Silkroad vendor who had provided the drugs.

Further investigation revealed that Campbell was an active drug dealer who supplied illicit substances, such as prescription drugs and heroin, to clients across the country through Silkroad’s platform in exchange for bitcoin.

The drugs were delivered in altered DVD cases, thus avoiding easy detection. An altered DVD case was found near the deceased body, and Campbell’s fingerprints were found on the case.

A search warrant was issued to search the Campbell’s residence, where concrete evidence of his drug trafficking activities was obtained.

Aside from the drugs themselves, other incriminating evidence was discovered, such as shipping and packaging equipment, measuring scales and devices, and empty DVD cases.

The Trial

In a press release, U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes mentioned that this case is both a tragedy and an outrage for allowing a drug trafficker to work at a drug treatment center, a place where drug addicts came to seek help.

Hayes further stressed that the heroin sold by the defendant through Silkroad killed a customer, and will request the court to give a sentence that reflects that fact.

Sale of Drugs on the Rise Even After Closure of SilkRoad

Drug treatment worker who decided to make some extra cash by selling heroin and prescription drugs on Silkroad.

Launched in 2011, Silkroad was one of the first modern darknet marketplaces that allowed users to access illegal drugs securely and anonymously without detection.

The original Silkroad site was shut down in 2013 with the arrest of its founder. More than 13,000 drug listings had been discovered from Silkroad.

Since then, the number of websites similar to Silkroad that sell drugs and other illicit merchandise has exponentially grown, with their preferred currency being bitcoin.

Verdict

Campbell’s case is not the first of its kind. In May 2014, Jenna White and her co-defendant Steven Sadler pleaded guilty to using the Silkroad marketplace to sell and distribute illegal substances.

Annette Hayes, the acting U.S Attorney, stated that Sadler had sold close to $1,000,000 USD worth of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine through the Silkroad prior to the marketplace being shut down in 2013.

Evidence retrieved by the authorities at his residence included drugs, a firearm, and several thousand dollars. Sadler was ultimately given a five-year prison sentence.

Over the past few years, darknet marketplaces such as Silkroad have become a headache of the police and the judicial system due to their employment of new forms of technology to communicate and transact, making it difficult for authorities to handle.

Even after the shutdown of Silkroad website, the investigators established that Campbell found other avenues to sell drugs to customers. With such concrete evidence against him, Campbell may be facing heavy charges. He will be sentenced on May 9th, 2017.

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Silk Road Vendors Indicted for Online Drug Trafficking

Three major Silk Road drug vendors have been indicted on counts of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances across the United States and Australia.

The latest triumph for the US Drug Enforcement Agency involves the arrest and conviction of three high-profile Silk Road drug vendors.

The three, Julian Villa-Gomez Lemus, Fadhle Muqbel Saeed, and Alfonso Bojorquez were arraigned in a Florida court where they pleaded guilty of drug distribution using darknet markets such as Silk Road.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

31-year-old Lemus was the last of the three to be convicted within the same week for near-similar crimes that involved the sale of illicit substances.

Although they were all pinned for a catalogue of slightly dissimilar charges, the trio was ultimately linked to a similar charge, and that was the conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

It was a good week for the DEA, who spearheaded the investigations with the help of the now highly-resourceful USPIS, and the state of California where the three Silk Road drug vendors resided.

The Trio was Involved in a Drug Distribution Conspiracy

Each of the three Silk Road drug vendors was indicted on two counts, the first one being the conspiracy to distribute controlled substances such as marijuana, hydrocodone, and also methamphetamine.

The apparent associates were also charged with aiding and abetting each other and other drug vendors and criminals that remain unknown to the court.

Initially charged with the conspiracy to distribute only the three aforementioned substances, a subsequent announcement from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida revealed that the group was also heavily involved in the sale and distribution of steroids and cocaine as well.

The announcement revealed that the three were part of a drug trade that spread across the United States and some parts of Australia.

The Three Silk Road Drug Vendors Considered “Heavy Hitters” in the Digital Drug Trade

Drug trade that spread across the United States and some parts of Australia.

Based on the DEA’s testimony before the federal jury in Orlando, Florida, the trio was not a small-scale drug cartel.

They ran a massive drug empire using Silk Road as just one of their platforms, and, according to the DEA, had carried out a total of 1,300 transactions up to the point of arrest.

Purported to have started their operations back in October 2012, the trio had amassed a total of $1.9 million in their years of operation.

In addition to the upcoming sentences for the three, they will also have to forfeit the proceeds of their drug operation, which may be equivalent to the above-stated amount.

Questions Raised Over the Indictment of the Three Silk Road Drug Vendors

The indictment has sparked a lot of interest on Reddit (/r/DarkNetMarkets), with a lot of questions revolving around Fadhle Muqbel Saeed.

Arguably, most of the controversy is centered on why this particular Silk Road drug vendor, despite his numerous aliases on different darknet markets, had gone unnoticed by law enforcement for so long.

Consequently, the general consensus was that the government should have made the arrests a lot earlier considering the scale of the operation ran by the three convicts.

As a result, it took a substantial amount of time to go through all these three men’s associated cases.

For instance, Saeed’s profile came attached to three different monikers from three different darknet markets.

He went by the nicknames “darkexpresso,” “Damien Darko,” and “bonappetit” on his various accounts.

He was also ranked among the top 11% of drug vendors with 100% positive reviews on Silk Road, and had conducted an upwards of 300 transactions on Silk Road in the short span of a year.

Sentences to be Delivered Shortly

The six-count indictment holds a maximum sentence of up to 20 years for each of the men in a federal prison.

The men will be awaiting their respective sentences, which will be delivered on the March 23rd, 2017 according to Attorney A.

Lee Bentley the Third. The charges for all three men involved both their state of residence, California, and Florida where the hearing has been taking place.

The USPIS has been credited for being instrumental in the DEA’s investigation, which was set into motion on the May 11th, 2016 after being signed off on by the necessary authorities.

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“Free Ross” Has Been Hacked

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The Free Ross accounts were recently hacked by an unknown cyber criminal barely a month after the Free-Ross-A-Thon fundraiser was conducted.

Barely a month after the huge success that was the Free Ross-A-Thon fundraiser (which was co-hosted by a number of high-profile personalities alongside Ross’s mother, Lyn Ulbricht) was held, disaster struck.

Reports of the hacking of the email addresses, the Twitter account, the phone numbers, and worst of all, the Bitcoin and PayPal accounts linked to Free Ross came just a few weeks afterward.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

(>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<)

Fundraiser Had Garnered Close to $50,000

The Free Ross-A-Thon was dedicated to helping the family of the Silk Road founder raises about $14,000 in legal fees, which would be used to print Ross’s court appeal documents.

The fundraiser exceeded all expectations by a mile as the proceeds from well-wishers reached $23,500 before Roger Ver, a Bitcoin entrepreneur, matched Ross Ulbricht’s legal fees, bringing the total to $47,000.

Another significant contribution was made by the American Black Cross, a non-profit organization that seeks to help out political prisoners.

The founder, who also happens to be the man behind DefenseDistributed, donated $5,000 to the Silk Road founder’s cause.

The Hacking was announced on 31st December

The announcement was first made during the early morning hours of 31st December via the Free Ross Facebook account.

A similar notice was also put up on Reddit. They informed the public what had happened and asked well-wishers to stop sending in the donations using the normal channels until the matter was clarified.

Unfortunately, this message did not reach as far as it was intended since donations of 1.1 BTC were received in the original PayPal account after the notice was posted.

The blockchain indicated that the hack actually took place on 29th December when two amounts totaling to 20.4 BTC were withdrawn from the account on two separate occasions.

On the morning of the 31st December, shortly before the notice was posted, another withdrawal of 24.7 BTC was made.

Outrage over the Hacking of the Silk Road Founder’s Funds

email-hack
It is said that the hackers had managed to get access to the email account.

Roger Ver, the biggest contributor to the Silk Road founder’s cause, was openly upset over the hacking of the Free Ross accounts.

He let his outrage known through his Twitter account on the same day of the incident by posting a tweet which read in part: “hackers who target those who are already dealing with heartache deserve all our contempt” followed by a link to the Reddit post that warned well-wishers not to donate using the pre-established channels.

Ver was also visibly enraged by the incident as he showed on various Reddit comments, one of which showed his strong feelings towards the hackers who he felt should “burn in hell.”

Hackers Took Over Email Addresses for the Silk Road Initiative

It is said that the hackers had managed to get access to the Free Ross email account, which they had been using to solicit donations from well-wishers.

Ver had received one of such requests which he claimed was poorly put together in broken English.

The hackers are said to have been requesting donations from the well-wishers for another Free Ross meeting, this time a New Year’s party.

Google Helped Free Ross to Gain Control over their Account

On 3rd January, Lyn Ulbricht reported that they had managed to regain control over their previously hacked Gmail account and had managed to track down every last penny that had been donated towards the Silk Road founder’s cause.

She also reported that their PayPal account had not been hacked, that everything was in order and that well-wishers could resume sending their donations to the previously established bitcoin address.

Based on the success of the previous campaign, plans for the next Free-Ross-A-Thon are said to be in the works, and all pointers show that it might take place in 2017.

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Mistakes Made by Silk Road’s Dread Pirate Roberts

fbi
How the authorities busted the people behind the original Silk Road and Silk Road 2.0?

The original Silkroad and Silkroad 2.0 – these two sites may have avoided the authorities for quite some time, but now the two sites are demise – shut down by the FBI.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

So, how did the authorities caught the people behind Silkroad and Silkroad 2.0? In this article, we are going to explore that question.

The Idea

Before we address the main question, it’s best that we cover a few important details. Otherwise, you could end up backtracking on some information you might need to get grasp the entire picture.

At its core, the Silkroad was basically just like any other online store. However, what mainstream online stores can’t do is sell illicit merchandise or services.

There are basically two major problems when selling or purchasing items online. Let’s tackle the first one.

The first problem is identity. The mainstream internet is being monitored by the authorities. Everyone knows this. Hence, selling or purchasing illegal items may prove to be tough. Then, the solution came.

At some point, the Tor network was invented. The exact mechanism how the Tor network system works is beyond this article.

Yes, it can be very complex. For now, let’s just say that Tor can help you surf a special network, which is known as the Dark Web, anonymously.

With anonymity, you can free yourself from the worry of someone monitoring your surfing history. But here’s the second problem.

Money trail! Whenever you do a transaction, there’s always a money trail. This is particularly the case with digital money that came from the bank.

Even if you are anonymous when you purchase something illicit, the money can be traced back to you. That means that you could end up with a new cellmate. Then, the breakthrough came along.

Bitcoins! Bitcoins was the last piece of the puzzle that allowed Silkroad 1 and 2 to flourish.

Bitcoin is a form of online currency that allows anonymous currency transaction. After these two issues were solved, Silkroad was born, and the rest is history.

Now the question is – if the Tor network and Bitcoin currency provided the security by being anonymous, how did the Silkroad founder get busted?

Silkroad and Silkroad 2.0 Bust

dread-pirate-roberts
Months before Silkroad got popular, Ross Ulbricht was trying to spread the news of his new site; which was Silkroad.

First of all, nothing in this world is completely secure. Even the most secure network in the planet can be hacked.

It’s just a matter of allocating enough time and resources. Once we have that on the table, we can tackle the question a bit further.

The man behind the Silkroad was Ross Ulbricht a.k.a. “Dread Pirate Roberts” (DPR). He was the genius or the mastermind (depending on how you look at it) that married the idea of anonymous surfing and anonymous currency, thus creating an anonymous marketplace.

With Silkroad, one can actually sell anything. It’s just that the site was popularly used as a marketplace for illegal merchandise.

The idea of an anonymous currency and an anonymous network may be impressive, but the real reason Ross Ulbricht got busted was the plain old human error.

Months before Silkroad got popular, Ross Ulbricht was trying to spread the news of his new site; which was Silkroad. He did it by visiting forums sites.

In the forum posts, he left his email so anyone can contact him if anyone is interested. Here’s the thing – he publicly left an email with his name on it! This was the initial scent that the authorities followed, which eventually led to the fall of Silkroad 1. Now, how about Silkroad 2?

Silkroad 2.0 officially went up a month later after the shutdown of the original Silkroad. The man supposedly running Silkroad 2.0 was Blake Benthall, also known as “Defcon.” Here’s the thing – someone obviously didn’t learn their lesson.

When Silk Road 2.0 went up, the site can be traced to an anonymous server. In the server details, the authorities found out that the server was registered to a [email protected]! From then on, it’s Silk Road 1 all over again.

Bottom Line

There is no such thing as a 100% secure network on this planet. Even if you can create something that is truly secure, which is close to impossible, you still need humans to access it.

And that is the biggest security hole – human error. Just like Silk Road 1 and 2. Everyone thought that it would be a supercomputer doing complicated stuff to crack the site’s security.

When in fact, it’s actually a human error, like leaving an email unintentionally that will cause the first domino to fall down.

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American Black Cross Inspired by the Silk Road Creator’s Case

A charity organization known as American Black Cross was recently formed to help U.S. political prisoners attain freedom; the group says their inspiration came from Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s case; many people still believe he’s a political prisoner jailed for victimless crimes.

Bitcoin users are encouraged to donate towards their noble cause which champions the release of such unfairly imprisoned people.

All contributions will help in fighting the war on drugs, victimless charges and also promote overall internet freedom.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

The American Black Cross has been formed to champion the rights of political prisoners, especially those who have been jailed for victimless crimes.
The American Black Cross has been formed to champion the rights of political prisoners, especially those who have been jailed for victimless crimes.

Ulbricht was given a double life imprisonment sentence for hosting Silk Road, a darknet marketplace that dealt in prohibited drugs.

The war on drugs has ruined the lives of many individuals and their families.

It started in the 1980s when the government launched a campaign dubbed “Say No to Drugs,” this operation saw the U.S. prison population multiply by up to 5 times.

Statistics show that around 86% of the entire population of prisoners in federal incarceration are jailed for victimless crimes; these charges include drug offenses, public disorder and other illegal activities that don’t infringe directly on other citizens’ rights.

Ross Ulbricht is the most widely recognized figure arrested for a victimless crime; he was arrested in October 2013 for operating the Silk Road drug marketplace.

Despite his incarceration, many cryptocurrency users and those within the libertarian communities hold it that Ross’ trial lacked fairness, plus the prison sentence was quite extreme.

Apart from receiving a double life sentence, the Silk Road founder was also not given a chance for parole.

Ulbricht’s family believes their son was hurriedly prosecuted without any solid evidence from the government on the Silk Road case; they claim it was a legal atrocity and have since been campaigning for his release, including millions of other people who have been jailed for victimless crimes.

Ross’ family has fully endorsed American Black Cross; they recently reminded well-wishers at the end of 2016 that one of the ways they can help Ulbricht is by making tax-deductible donations to the organization.

Founded in 2015, the 501 (c)(3) nonprofit charity organization’s main goal is championing the rights of U.S political prisoners, a class of individuals that’s rapidly growing by the day.

The institution accepts payment in various forms such as bitcoin donation and credit card transfers; all funds are channeled towards legal aid as well as defense funding for criminal charges where certain civil rights have been denied.

Political prisoners or their respective families can submit their requests for help from the charitable organization.

If you’re facing a victimless indictment similar to the Silk Road, or represent a person who was imprisoned while resisting the federal government, Black Cross can offer some assistance, especially if you believe the case might have a greater impact beyond the litigants’ interests.

All submissions would be checked by the Review Committee for consideration, and if they believe your case is strong enough some assistance or funding will be provided.

A charity organization known as American Black Cross was recently formed to help U.S. political prisoners attain freedom; the group says their inspiration came from Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s case
A charity organization known as American Black Cross was recently formed to help U.S. political prisoners attain freedom; the group says their inspiration came from Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s case

The American Black Cross consists of a group of volunteers and human rights activists, whose main goal is to defend the prisoners of American Imperium such as Ross Ulbricht of Silk Road, promote humanitarian relief and also abolish the nation’s industrial jail systems.

According to them, Black Cross acts as a civil liberties protection organization, focused on defending those who’ve opposed repressive government policies via the internet.

Their recent plan currently is committing funds towards assisting the legal efforts of the incarcerated Silk Road creator.

The organization considers Ulbricht’s conviction bitterly unfair and is actively involved in helping him with the ongoing appeal.

Political cases like that of Silk Road have a tendency of shaping precedence in future rulings; that’s the reason why many people in the cryptocurrency community are supporting Ulbricht and Free Ross organization.

Various aspects of the case including investigations, arrest, server shutdown and even double life sentencing leave a lot of questions to be asked.

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An Art Campaign for the Silk Road Founder

Three years ago, in October 2013, Ross Ulbricht was working at a public library in San Francisco when he was surrounded and arrested by federal agents of a special crime division.

He was detained for a short time before being sent to New York to face trial for starting, administering, and running the Silk Road darknet marketplace.

He was later found guilty of perpetrating and promoting the sale of drugs on the marketplace and sentenced to a life imprisonment with little to no chances of parole.

This marked the beginning of a spirited campaign by his supporters which seeks to free him or at least lessen the punitive life sentence.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

Supporters are making and sharing their art for the Silk Road founder, Ross Ulbricht, in "Art 4 Ross" campaign.
Supporters are making and sharing their art for the Silk Road founder, Ross Ulbricht, in “Art 4 Ross” campaign.

However, a few weeks after Ross was convicted for his role in the administration and operation of the Silk Road, some increasingly worrisome details regarding the case were leaked.

This includes allegations of corruption among the lead investigators from the Drug Enforcement Agency who were tasked with the responsibility of finding compelling evidence against Ross Ulbricht.

The arrest and conviction of the Silk Road founder saw his mother Lyn Ulbricht turn into a passionate activist and thousands of supporters – mostly libertarians – joined her cause.

Nonetheless, it is one of the most recent campaigns from the “Free Ross” team that has gathered an online storm lately.

The campaign, which is dubbed as “Art 4 Ross” taps into one of Ulbricht’s unique interests especially in drawing, solving puzzles and arts.

Now, through the hashtag #Art4Ross on Twitter, Ross’ supporters have shared their art in solidarity with the movement.

The art titled “The Trial I Saw” is a microcosm of the conviction from his perspective which apparently only took three weeks to be concluded.
The art titled “The Trial I Saw” is a microcosm of the conviction from his perspective which apparently only took three weeks to be concluded.

While in prison, the Silk Road founder has made an artwork that has been turned into a fun game.

Content wise, it makes use of an array of photos and drawings that seek to highlight the plight of Ross predicaments.

The art titled “The Trial I Saw” is a microcosm of the conviction from his perspective which apparently only took three weeks to be concluded.

Supporters of the Silk Road drug online bazaar creator can make their donations by simply playing the “Free Ross” game for a $1 per click to reveal a grid of each pixelated square.

One can either choose to reveal a single square at a go or make bulk selections of 10, 25 or 50 squares at a time.

Recently, the Art 4 Ross campaign picked up steam as the news surfaced that Dread Pirate Robert’s Silk Road forum account was still active even after Ross’ arrest.

Lyn Ulbricht has since made an official statement in the light of these new findings terming it as “one of the clearest signs of evidence tampering and corruption” in Ross’ case.

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