Silk Road Admin Pleads Guilty to Drug-Related Charge

Gary Davis’s short stint as a site administrator on Silk Road has left the Irish national facing up to a period of 20 years in prison should he be convicted on charges of distributing narcotics.

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justice and law concept.Male judge in a courtroom the gavel, working with digital tablet computer on wood table in morning light
Former Silk Road admin Gary Davis pleaded guilty of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, a charge carrying a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

Earlier this month, the 30-year-old pleaded guilty to the charge, acknowledging his administrative role on Silk Road where he went by the alias “Libertas.”

The Silk Road operated for two short years (between 2011 and 2013) during which thousands of drug dealers managed to peddle their illegal wares to buyers numbering in the hundreds of thousands, all under the cover of anonymity.

Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht—who operated using the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts” or “DPR” during his period at the helm of the dark web marketplace—was sentenced to life in prison two years after the site was brought down. That was in 2015, about two years after Davis had stepped down from his role as a site administrator.

Silk Road’s Hierarchy

Federal prosecutors from New York said that Davis operated as a paid moderator on the now-defunct site, a role that came with duties such as responding to inquiries, monitoring user activity, and conflict resolution between buyers and sellers.

The site administrators served below Ulbricht and his advisors, but above forum moderators who primarily monitored how the users of the site interacted and enforced the guidelines on how to transact on the platform, reporting only the issues they couldn’t solve to the admins.

Court documents say that Davis started out in the latter role between May and June 2013 before he was promoted to an administrative role. He acted as an administrator until October 2 of the same year.

Extradition and Prosecution

drug use, crime, addiction and substance abuse concept
Earlier this month, the 30-year-old pleaded guilty to the charge, acknowledging his administrative role on Silk Road where he went by the alias “Libertas.”

Davis had initially intended to fight all efforts of prosecutors to extradite him to the U.S. to appear before the court, but less than three years later, his appeal turned out to be unsuccessful despite claims by his attorneys that he feared how he would be treated in American prisons.

Prosecutors announced his extradition in July, which is roughly four years after he was arrested back in Ireland. On October 5, he stood before U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman and pleaded guilty of conspiring to distribute narcotics, a charge which could put him behind bars for up to 20 years if he’s proven guilty during his sentencing, which is scheduled for January 17, 2019.

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Gary Davis in Negotiations with Prosecutors on a Plea Deal

Updated coverage of Gary Davis’ case here.

Ross Ulbricht’s quest for freedom is bound to be speckled by obstacles, according to fresh reports. Several months after his appeal was denied, U.S. attorneys have filed an appellee brief with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals insisting that the Silk Road founder’s appeal should be denied.

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OBJECTIONS word on card index
Ross Ulbricht is expected to face objections from the U.S. government in relation to his appeal for a time extension to file a Rule 33 motion.

Furthermore, the document stated that the attorneys were fully behind the decision of the District Court to deny Ulbricht’s appeal.

Katherine B. Forrest, the judge who delivered Ulbricht’s life sentence, denied him the chance to appeal his judgment for reconsideration and to file a motion for fresh trials in accordance to Rule 33 of the Federal Rules of Criminal procedure.

Rule 33 says in part that the defendant can file a motion which may lead the court to repeal any judgment and order fresh trials if it is in the interest of serving justice.

Ulbricht’s defense team has filed motions that claim that new relevant data is available. This series of motions were filed by Ulbricht in February as he awaited his certiorari petition, which was still pending.

One motion requested additional time for the former Silk Road founder to prepare and submit a Rule 33 motion based on newly found evidence from the pen register and trap and trace data collected during the course of the Silk Road investigations.

The government had five of these Pen/Trap orders, three of which were contested by Ulbricht’s defense team. The court denied the request for additional time to file a Rule 33 motion that same day.

Attorneys explained why Ulbricht may face a lot of objections filing a motion for fresh trials based on newly discovered evidence.

According to them, motions such as these are typically only granted when the evidence is new and was not a part of the previous trial, when there are facts on which the court can perform due diligence to obtain evidence, when there is materialistic evidence, when the evidence is neither cumulative nor merely impeaching, and when the evidence will, without a shadow of doubt, result in the acquittal of the defendant.

Word APPEAL composed of wooden letters. Statue of Themis and judge's gavel in the background
Furthermore, the document stated that the attorneys were fully behind the decision of the District Court to deny Ulbricht’s appeal.

According to the document, the District Court is not at fault for denying Ulbricht’s motion for a time extension to file a Rule 33 motion chiefly because the defendant cannot prove that the Pen/Trap data is newly discovered, whether it is material to his defense, or whether it would lead to an acquittal if they take it to trial.

Ulbricht’s newly discovered evidence consists of Pen/Trap data from three of the five orders purportedly contained in sealed magistrate’s files, newly discovered Pen/Trap data that the government had promised to produce to his defense team, and evidence from the book American Kingpin, which showed that the agency tasked with the Silk Road investigation used Pen/Trap data to monitor not only his location but also his online activities when he was at his residence.

Despite that, U.S. attorneys are adamant in the belief that these challenges are meritless, and that Ulbricht knew about the Pen/Trap data back in 2014.

They also mentioned that the arguments he raised recently had already been raised and rejected by the District Court and now the Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ulbricht will continue to serve his life sentence pending any new developments to the case.

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Silk Road Creator Faces Objections to Appeal

Ross Ulbricht’s quest for freedom is bound to be speckled by obstacles, according to fresh reports. Several months after his appeal was denied, U.S. attorneys have filed an appellee brief with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals insisting that the Silk Road founder’s appeal should be denied.

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 <<

Judge`s gavel and law books.constitutional crisis
Ross Ulbricht is expected to face objections from the U.S. government in relation to his appeal for a time extension to file a Rule 33 motion.

Furthermore, the document stated that the attorneys were fully behind the decision of the District Court to deny Ulbricht’s appeal.

Katherine B. Forrest, the judge who delivered Ulbricht’s life sentence, denied him the chance to appeal his judgment for reconsideration and to file a motion for fresh trials in accordance to Rule 33 of the Federal Rules of Criminal procedure.

Rule 33 says in part that the defendant can file a motion which may lead the court to repeal any judgment and order fresh trials if it is in the interest of serving justice.

Ulbricht’s defense team has filed motions that claim that new relevant data is available. This series of motions were filed by Ulbricht in February as he awaited his certiorari petition, which was still pending.

One motion requested additional time for the former Silk Road founder to prepare and submit a Rule 33 motion based on newly found evidence from the pen register and trap and trace data collected during the course of the Silk Road investigations.

The government had five of these Pen/Trap orders, three of which were contested by Ulbricht’s defense team. The court denied the request for additional time to file a Rule 33 motion that same day.

Attorneys explained why Ulbricht may face a lot of objections filing a motion for fresh trials based on newly discovered evidence.

According to them, motions such as these are typically only granted when the evidence is new and was not a part of the previous trial, when there are facts on which the court can perform due diligence to obtain evidence, when there is materialistic evidence, when the evidence is neither cumulative nor merely impeaching, and when the evidence will, without a shadow of doubt, result in the acquittal of the defendant.

According to the document, the District Court is not at fault for denying Ulbricht’s motion for a time extension to file a Rule 33 motion chiefly because the defendant cannot prove that the Pen/Trap data is newly discovered, whether it is material to his defense, or whether it would lead to an acquittal if they take it to trial.

Rubber stamping that says 'Appeal'.
Furthermore, the document stated that the attorneys were fully behind the decision of the District Court to deny Ulbricht’s appeal.

Ulbricht’s newly discovered evidence consists of Pen/Trap data from three of the five orders purportedly contained in sealed magistrate’s files, newly discovered Pen/Trap data that the government had promised to produce to his defense team, and evidence from the book American Kingpin, which showed that the agency tasked with the Silk Road investigation used Pen/Trap data to monitor not only his location but also his online activities when he was at his residence.

Despite that, U.S. attorneys are adamant in the belief that these challenges are meritless, and that Ulbricht knew about the Pen/Trap data back in 2014.

They also mentioned that the arguments he raised recently had already been raised and rejected by the District Court and now the Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ulbricht will continue to serve his life sentence pending any new developments to the case.

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Huge Silk Road Bitcoin Wallet Gets Active Again—Here Are the Theories

Activity in a Bitcoin wallet containing close to a billion dollars worth of Bitcoin has raised several suspicions and theories, as crypto enthusiasts, analysts and one particularly dedicated Reddit user have reported.

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Bit-coin in the wallet
A Bitcoin wallet containing over 111,000 BTC has shown activity for the first time in years, meaning a major Bitcoin dump could be imminent.

The wallet is said to contain 111,114.615 BTC, which is roughly $800 million in fiat currency. Reddit user “sick_silk” and other enthusiasts first noticed the account in May 2014 but didn’t see any activity for over four years.

Now, the excitement is palpable as the unknown owner of the account recently began moving chunks of the massive sum, setting in motion a trail of speculation over who it could be, and more importantly, where they got all that Bitcoin from.

Sell-Offs and Bitcoin Dumps Anticipated

Even without knowing the origin or the owner of the wallet in question, crypto enthusiasts are expecting that this recent activity only means that a huge dump is imminent.

Wallets of such magnitude have the power to influence Bitcoin’s market prices considerably, and so a major sell-off is something the world will take note of.

So far, a total of 60,000 coins have been moved in chunks of 30,000, 20,000 5,000, 500, and 100 bitcoin. A sum of 11,114 BTC (roughly $80.3 million) was sent to a Bitfinex wallet and another 4,421 BTC (approximately $32 million) was transferred to Binance.

This only represents 14 percent of the total sum in the wallet, but many anticipate that the activity won’t stop there.

The Silk Road Theory

Meanwhile, experts and enthusiasts have already begun spewing out theories over who the account may belong to.

Some believe that it is part of Silk Road founder Dread Pirate Roberts’ cache of 600,000 Bitcoin, which he hid in an encrypted wallet before the shutdown of Silk Road and the consequent arrest and life incarceration of the man behind the site, Ross Ulbricht.

The Silk Road marketplace didn’t last long, but over the two years it was in operation its administrators amassed millions of dollars in profits.

Though a significant portion of this was seized by the FBI and auctioned, large sums of Bitcoin remained unaccounted for, and crypto enthusiasts believe this could be one of the cold storages for the disappeared funds.

The Mt. Gox Theory

The Mt. Gox breach will go down in history as one of the biggest Bitcoin heists of all time. Back then, the price was $480 per coin, and the hackers took $437 million worth of Bitcoin.

This automatically rendered the exchange bankrupt, and to date, they are still reimbursing customers who lost their Bitcoins in the incident.

Since the last dates of the transaction of the mysterious account almost coincide with the final days of the exchange’s life, it is possible that the account was merely one of their reserves, and that they have now cracked it open to continue paying off their debts.

This theory was strengthened on August 23 when Nobuaki Kobayashi, a trustee at the exchange, released submission forms for creditors who were ready to make and prove their claims.

It is possible that the exchange is looking to make amends by settling its debts with as minimum hassle as possible to get back some of the trust their customers had put in them.

Hacking is always an unfortunate incident, and although poor security and negligence are to blame most of the time, sometimes there’s little that can be done but damage control.

The Craig Wright Theory

Hand putting virtual golden coins into wallet, holding bitcoin. Blue screen with chart on the background. Crypto-currency concept
The wallet is said to contain 111,114.615 BTC, which is roughly $800 million in fiat currency.

The final theory about who the wallet belongs to revolves around Craig Wright—the man claiming to be the notorious founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto—and lawsuit that was filed against him in February this year.

Wright is accused of defrauding the estate of Dave Kleiman of $5,188,266,427.50 in Bitcoin as well as intellectual property rights.

This theory is backed by an IP agreement made in 2011 which lists a Bitcoin wallet address that corresponds to the wallet containing over 100,000 Bitcoins.

It could be that Mr. Wright is responsible for the new activity in the account as he is known as one of the biggest holders of Bitcoin to date.

The wallet could belong to any one of the three parties mentioned above, but it could also belong to any one of the numerous big fish playing the crypto game.

Whether the predicted sell-off is imminent is a matter of waiting and seeing because, at this point, only time will tell.

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Silk Creator Ross Ulbricht Dictates Tweets from Prison

Ross Ulbricht may have lost hope of having his sentence shortened or reviewed when his final appeal fell through earlier this summer, but the 34-year-old Silk Road founder is far from done fighting for his freedom.

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Crime - Prison Cell Bars
Ross Ulbricht has been dictating tweets from prison via phone in an effort to gain clemency from the president and keep in touch with his followers.

Though his only way of communicating with the outside world is through the few seconds of phone time he gets routinely, he is determined to keep in touch with his followers, who have been loyally pushing for his freedom since day one. Ulbricht is now posting tweets from maximum security prison with the help of his dedicated family.

Ulbricht was handed two life sentences plus 40 years for running the world’s first dark web marketplace, Silk Road.

This was in 2015, and although dozens of new markets have sprung up in the place of the now-defunct Silk Road, no leniency has been offered to the man who many still believe is wrongfully incarcerated.

Silk Road was run by Ulbricht under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts.” After his arrest, he was slapped with six charges of attempted murder alongside charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.

None of the murder charges made it onto his final charge sheet, though it can be said that they played a big role in influencing Ulbricht’s draconian sentencing.

Ulbricht’s court case was an emotionally charged one as the murder attempt on his colleague, Curtis Green, and the deaths of people who supposedly bought drugs from the online platform took center stage and painted him as an unrelenting drug baron who would stop at nothing to protect his business.

Failed Appeal

Realizing that Ulbricht’s sentencing could have been wrongfully influenced by the murder-for-hire charges (which never made it to court), his lawyers attempted to convince the Supreme Court that the charges had nothing to do with his crimes and as such, his sentencing needed revision, but the court refused to rehear the case.

Citing the overwhelming evidence presented at the trial, Ulbricht was considered in the same breath as a dangerous drug kingpin that would commit even murder when his business was threatened.

Ulbricht’s legal team went on to insist that the district court which handed out the sentence only mentioned the attempted murder charges in passing and therefore it would be inaccurate to suggest that the ruling was made based on them.

One indictment remained out of the initial six murder-for-hire charges, and Ulbricht’s lawyers were able to get it dismissed earlier this summer.

Corrupt Testimonies

Even the fact that two federal agents tasked with investigations into Ulbricht’s case have been charged and convicted of stealing Bitcoin was not enough to convince the Supreme Court that Ulbricht’s trial was flawed.

The court insists that it would not invalidate their testimonies despite the turn of events.

Even the dropped murder charges were swept under the rug as the court denied Ulbricht his appeal despite the inconsistencies in his trial.

Keeping in Touch with the World

Female Holding Smartphone On Hand And Start Using Twitter Application.
Ross Ulbricht may have lost hope of having his sentence shortened or reviewed when his final appeal fell through earlier this summer

Ulbricht might be tweeting just to stay in touch with the massive following he’s garnered over the years, but he’s also doing it to get U.S. President Donald Trump to notice his plight since a presidential pardon is his final hope for freedom.

A post that was published on July 27 confirmed that indeed the 34-year-old has been dictating his tweets to his family via phone, after which they’ve been posted word for word.

This is far from a permanent solution because Ulbricht’s may lose his phone privileges should the prison go into lockdown.

To further prove the authenticity of the account, Ulbricht sent a handwritten letter to his family which was scanned and posted both to his Twitter account and to the Free Ross website.

Many of his supporters have also been able to communicate with him directly through the aid of his family. Comments to his Twitter posts are printed and shipped out to him.

Ulbricht might be down, but he’s certainly not done yet. He expressed his gratitude to his supporters on July 19 after receiving close to a dozen pages of comments from his pardon petition on Change.org. According to him, these comments raised his spirits and deeply moved him.

Though Ulbricht is a non-violent offender, he remains imprisoned for life with no chance to appeal his case, leaving his freedom and indeed his destiny in the hands of the president.

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Murder-For-Hire Indictment Against Silk Road Founder to Be Dismissed

The Free Ross movement has been working tirelessly over the past few years to overturn the life sentencing of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht.

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Indictment Law Concept 3D Illustration
The murder-for-hire charge that possibly decided the case against Ross Ulbricht years ago has been officially dismissed.

Despite being dealt a fatal blow in recent years, the movement celebrated a bittersweet victory last week after the prosecution filed a motion to drop the final murder-for-hire charge against Ulbricht.

Ulbricht was initially slapped with six murder-for-hire charges, five of which never made it to court. The sixth charge involved his former partner and has now been dismissed with prejudice, giving the 34-year-old a sliver of hope to hang on to as he serves out his life sentence at the USP Florence Maximum Security Prison in Colorado.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert Hur filed the motion last week and later stated that the decision to drop the murder-for-hire charges was based on a need to reallocate resources to cases that needed them.

Ulbricht’s Story & the Movement to Free Him

Although Ulbricht was arrested and imprisoned for running the darknet-based marketplace Silk Road, he was put behind bars over charges of money laundering, conspiracy to traffic narcotics, hacking and conspiracy to commit murder.

At the time, the last charge was described as “the procurement of murder” as Ulbricht faced the consequences of a fake hit on a former Silk Road site administrator, Curtis Green.

Following the dismissal of the final murder-for-hire charge, it is evident that the prosecutor did not believe any of the six charges were valid.

The official dismissal of this damaging charge has given Ross Ulbricht’s mother, Lyn Ulbricht, a reason to hope—although not even the movement has been able to pry Ulbricht away from his life sentence.

Ulbricht’s Future

A gavel on an american flag with a gun and bullets in the background, focus on the gavel.
Despite being dealt a fatal blow in recent years, the movement celebrated a bittersweet victory last week after the prosecution filed a motion to drop the final murder-for-hire charge against Ulbricht.

Mixed reactions followed the announcement of the charge dismissal as joyous supporters realized that Ulbricht may still very well spend his life in prison.

Following his failed appeal to the Supreme Court in June, Ulbricht was effectively denied the chance to overturn the ruling dished out by the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York over three years ago.

The six charges played a massive part in convincing the jury to rule against Ulbricht even though none of them had been proven in court.

Their dismissal now could be interpreted as the federal government surrendering its ace card because there is no longer the looming threat of Ulbricht walking free.

Indeed, many believe that Ulbricht’s sentencing was a deliberately excessive penalty by the federal government, judging by the extreme sentence that was doled out.

Indeed, previous reevaluations of the case have all produced the same answer: the life sentence handed to Ulbricht for forming and running the Silk Road was too heavy-handed a punishment.

Still, despite the bleakness of the situation, belief is firm among his supporters that the quest to free Ulbricht will ultimately be answered.

Although the judicial system can do nothing to reinstate the freedom of the man formerly known as Dread Pirate Roberts, hopes of a presidential pardon are what the movement is banking on to get the iconic darknet market founder into the free world.

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Silk Road Suspect Loses Extradition Appeal

Gary Davis, an Irishman accused of expediting the operation of Silk Road, was apprehended after the Supreme Court cleared the way for his extradition to the United States.

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He will face multiple conspiracy charges of narcotics distribution, potentially receiving a lifetime imprisonment sentence in the U.S.

Additionally, he also faces accusations of conspiracy to commit money laundering and computer hacking.

U.S. Marshalls Extradition Order

U.S Marshall police badge
Ireland’s Supreme Court denies the extradition appeal of an alleged Silk Road associate facing money laundering, hacking and drug charges in the US.

Davis, 29 years old, reportedly remained still even after his appeal was rejected in Ireland, although his family members looked visibly upset. U.S. Marshalls arrived in Dublin to escort Davis to New York, where he will remain behind bars at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre awaiting trial at an undetermined date.

The Supreme Court, after hearing representations from Davis’ legal team, agreed to establish a 48-hour stay within his surrender to allow consideration for any appeal avenues to the European Human Rights Court.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation filed an indictment in December 2013 purported that the suspect was an employee of Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road, and operated under the pseudonym “Libertas.”

Ulbricht, who is currently serving a life sentence without parole in the U.S., is understood to have amassed $18 million worth of profit through levies on the projected $1.2 billion the website made in the illegal drug trade.

Silk Road has often been cited as the Amazon of black market websites, the first of its kind. It organized multiple products into categories and purchasers could rate sellers to outline drug quality as well as delivery speed.

However, since the FBI closed it, after extensive and elaborate investigation, the site became the prototype for the ever-growing network of darknet markets that took its place.

Details of Davis’ Case

A series of payments on Ulbricht’s laptop indicated that Libertas received $1,500 in Bitcoin each week for sorting out queries from vendors as well as organizing drugs into categories for sale.

Davis was arraigned in court in January 2014 and opposed his extradition, claiming that he suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and would therefore not receive proper care during his wait for trial.

Last year in March, he also had another appeal against his extradition dismissed by the Irish Court of Appeal. The court then moved to allow him to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court.

Justice William McKechnie, who was presiding over a bench of five judges, outlined that although Ireland was obliged to safeguard individuals from neglect if surrendered overseas, the court was not satisfied that in his case, there was no real risk.

Further, Justice McKechnie also outlined that Davis was unable to establish a fault of law in both rulings as made by the Court of Appeal and the High Court.

Word APPEAL composed of wooden letters. Statue of Themis and judge's gavel in the background
He will face multiple conspiracy charges of narcotics distribution, potentially receiving a lifetime imprisonment sentence in the U.S.

Therefore, there were no grounds for the court to refuse his extradition. This means that Davis has now exhausted all his appeals in Ireland and his only chance of blocking the extradition is for his case to go to the European Court of Human Rights.

Davis is yet to outline how he plans to plead once in New York.

While in the High Court, he stated to one doctor that he was a case of mistaken identity and he was unsure of how a copy of his passport found its way into Ulbricht’s computer.

Throughout the four years of his case, the State is yet to accept the medical evidence claiming that Davis’ condition was too adverse to allow him to face trial in the U.S.

In the initial High Court hearing back in 2015, it was posited that Davis did not have Asperger’s condition until after he was initially arrested.

According to Remy Farrell, a representative of the Attorney General of Ireland, the defense argument citing Davis’ condition was only brought on under the circumstances of the extradition case.

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Ross Ulbricht’s Appeal Denied by the U.S. Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court officially announced that it has no intention of reconsidering the life sentence or conviction of Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road, a notorious darknet site.

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.

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Justice Scale And Wooden Brown Gavel On Usa Flag
The Supreme Court has denied the appeal by Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht review his sentence, meaning the 34-year-old will spend his lifetime behind bars.

Ulbricht was initially arrested in October 2013 in San Francisco. During the trial, the prosecutors outlined that at that moment, Ulbricht was conversing with undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agents while operating the darknet site under the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

Authorities collected evidence from his computer which included chat logs, spreadsheets and journal entries relating to the financial data of Silk Road between 2011 and 2013.

However, the suspect’s defense team maintained that Ulbricht was not the person the prosecution was after.

In their defense, they argued that although Ulbricht was the creator of the famed site, he, however, established it as an “economic experiment” and later handed it out to another party.

The defense team further outlined that the real criminal was on the loose and that Ulbricht was just a scapegoat.

Despite the valiant efforts by the defense team, the Jury was ultimately not convinced. The court found him guilty on multiple charges including operating a criminal enterprise, money laundering, computer hacking, and narcotics-trafficking conspiracy. He was handed a sentence of lifetime imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Ulbricht’s counsel subsequently filed an appeal of this life sentence, although it was unfortunately rejected in 2017.

Again, Ulbricht made another attempt last December before the U.S. Supreme Court alleging a violation of both his sixth and fourth amendment rights.

In that plea, Ulbricht argued that the authorities had gathered internet traffic data devoid of warrants during the time of the investigations.

Moreover, he also stated that the presiding judge at the time had also enforced an irrational sentence based partly on the claims that Ross had allegedly attempted to hire a hitman—an offense for which he was never charged or convicted of.

Ulbricht’s latest attempt to bring back his case back to the Court had received a lot of support from various organizations including the Reason Foundation, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Gun Owners of America.

On hearing the recently concluded case that involved location data obtained and stored by phone providers, the same Supreme Court made a ruling that the fourth amendment offers individuals “genuine belief of privacy,” particularly regarding their personal data even if they offer it voluntarily to third parties.

This ruling had many of Ulbricht’s supporters convinced that the Supreme Court would at least be willing to somehow consider Ross’s version of the story, although it seems that this optimism has been conclusively dashed and the initial life imprisonment sentence is still on.

Ongoing Crackdowns

justice and law concept.Male judge in a courtroom striking the gavel -us supreme court2
Ulbricht was initially arrested in October 2013 in San Francisco.

The Silk Road saga is still ongoing. In fact, Roger Clark, the alleged right-hand man to Ulbricht, has been extradited from Thailand and is expected to face a federal court back in the U.S. for his alleged involvement in the market.

Additionally, the fight against darknet markets is still ongoing on other fronts. Just recently the Department of Justice, in the first-ever nationwide undercover operation targeting darknet suspects, arrested 35 vendors and subsequently seized $20 million worth of digital currency.

What’s more, they also collected $3.6 million in gold bars and dollars, firearms and significant amounts of illegal narcotics.

Federal authorities remain relentless with Homeland Security Investigations emphasizing that no criminal is out of reach of the law.

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Silk Road’s Variety Jones Extradited to U.S.

Two and a half years after his arrest, one of Silk Road’s suspected associates has been extradited to the United States for an upcoming trial in a federal court.

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.

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investigation of crimes. evidence at the crime scene. drugs. drugs in cars
Authorities extradited Roger Thomas Clark, aka “Variety Jones,” to the U.S. where he will stand trial for his alleged role in helping run Silk Road.

Roger Thomas Clark, otherwise known as Variety Jones, VJ, Cimon and “plural of mongoose,” was first arrested in Thailand in 2015 following a joint operation which saw the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and local authorities in Thailand working together on the investigation.

Clark is famously regarded as the right-hand man of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht and is believed to have been involved with and/or influenced several of Ulbricht’s illicit dealings.

According to a statement from the Department of Justice, the 56-year-old Canadian could spend a minimum of 10 years in jail and a maximum of life imprisonment for charges related to money laundering and narcotics trafficking.

Clark’s Influence on Ross Ulbricht

Ulbricht first met Clark on the now-defunct site, and as he wrote, he found him to be a strong-willed character suitable enough to be a mentor for himself.

Clark’s role in running the operation was significant. According to federal prosecutors, he was paid in the hundreds of thousands to aid Ulbricht in running the illegal operation.

His influence on the young founder was significant, so much so that he had a hand in many of the illegal activities Ulbricht is serving life imprisonment for.

It is said that Clark provided advice on how to grow profits and, chillingly, how to get rid of obstacles using threats and violence.

He is also responsible for coining the rather clever screen name “Dread Pirate Roberts” which led people to think that the Silk Road administration comprised of a group of individuals rather than a single admin.

Radio Silence

After Silk Road was brought down in 2013, Clark’s presence on the dark web dwindled considerably; that is until he posted on a cannabis forum using the moniker Variety Jones.

In his post, he described how he had been hunted down by a crooked federal agent who had been asking for his assistance in finding the key to a virtual wallet containing over a million dollars’ worth of Bitcoin left over from the Silk Road era.

During this time, he even contemplated turning himself in for his safety, he said. An apparent cannabis connoisseur, Clark is recorded to have posted extensively on Silk Road forums about his 2,500 strains of marijuana seeds stashed in his vault.

This led to the officials making the connection between him and an infamous marijuana seed vendor based in the U.K. Over 300 posts written under his Variety Jones screen name attested to his dealings in cannabis.

FBI agents, after investigations, have denied the involvement of any corrupt officers in Clark’s case. A lack of supporting evidence ultimately relegated Clark’s story to the rumor column.

Clark’s Involvement with an Attempted Murder

3D illustration of "MURDER ATTEMPT" title on the ground in a police arena
Clark is famously regarded as the right-hand man of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht and is believed to have been involved with and/or influenced several of Ulbricht’s illicit dealings.

Over the short lifespan of the operation, Clark is believed to have had a say in several of the actions executed by the Silk Road founder.

To evade arrest and prosecution, Clark proposed that Ulbricht should attain citizenship outside of the U.S. to better shield himself from law enforcement.

Although he proposed the Dominican Republic, Ulbricht never got around to doing it.

Clark was even prepared with a contingency plan for Ulbricht should he have found himself behind bars at some point (which, ultimately, he did).

He strongly advised him to invest in a helicopter transport agency, saying that one or two of the helicopters would have come in handy when busting him out of jail.

But it was his nudging of Ulbricht to commit murder that gradually turned the tables on the entire operation.

Ulbricht, like many times before, had sought Clark’s advice when he learned that one of his employees, Curtis Green, had been dipping into a Bitcoin wallet without his knowledge.

In response, Clark offered to hire the services of a hitman to help take care of his problem.

Ultimately, the hit order came through one of their undercover agents, who promptly faked the murder and sent pictures to the duped duo. The rest, as they say, is history.

Clark has now been extradited to the U.S. where he is awaiting trial. Ulbricht’s mentor, confidant, employee, business partner, get-out-of-jail card and alleged partner in crime, could soon face up to 30 years in prison for his involvement in the infamous fallen darknet marketplace.

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Silk Road Drug Dealers Jailed for Total of 56 Years

Five former Manchester University students were handed a cumulative sentence of 56 years by Manchester Crown Court Judge Michael Leeming for selling over $1.2 million USD worth of drugs on the now-defunct Silk Road.

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 <<

Wooden Judges Gavel with Soundboard and Medical Injection Syringe on Grunge Wooden Table
Five London men will be serving a cumulative total of 56 years in prison for selling a large amount of drugs over Silk Road.

Basil Assaf, 26, was charged as the ringleader of the group and received a 15-year sentence while his right-hand man, 25-year-old James Roden, was slapped with 12 years in prison.

Jaikishen Patel and Elliott Hyams, both 26, were charged as heavily involved members of the group and were each handed 11-year sentences by Judge Leeming.

Additionally, 28-year-old Joshua Morgan was handed a much shorter sentence than the rest. He was known as the packer and the transporter of drugs in the group.

Silk Road Dealings

As is indicated in a press release from the U.K. National Crime Agency, the five London residents made a fortune selling drugs over the dark web from the beginning of Silk Road up until its ultimate demise in 2013.

It is estimated that the group sold 1.4kg of ketamine, the liquid equivalent of 240,000 ecstasy pills, and 1.2kg of 2CB, netting $1.14 million USD in the process.

Such profit margins from Silk Road allowed the five to spend money freely and it is said that they frequently vacationed in Jamaica, Amsterdam and the Bahamas.

One member is said to have paid off all his student loans and bought a house using his cut of the profits.

About the Group

Drug bust arrest with handcuffs, fingerprint ID, and fake sample evidence.
Basil Assaf, 26, was charged as the ringleader of the group and received a 15-year sentence while his right-hand man, 25-year-old James Roden, was slapped with 12 years in prison.

Eventually, as is bound to happen when there is a lot of money passing through a few hands, fighting broke out within the ranks of the group.

Assaf accused Hyams of unreliability and sacked him. Hyams, bitter from the confrontation, is said to have stolen a large amount of drugs from the group in retaliation.

The two then got into a heated text exchange which led to Assaf disclosing the nature of their business to Hyams’ mother.

Not long had passed after their rift when the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation raided and seized Silk Road servers.

Their information was forwarded to the NCA, and officers reacted quickly to raid the group’s headquarters, which was a shared flat.

Approximately 11,000 doses of LSD, four sets of scales, jiffy bags, envelopes and heat sealing devices were found.

Assaf and his flatmate Roden were arrested that same day, as was Hyams. Patel was arrested a year later.

In a public statement, NCA Senior Operations Manager Ian Glover commended the FBI for taking down Silk Road and providing them with the tools necessary to make the arrests.

According to him, the cover of anonymity is what makes dark web criminals think that they are safe from the law.

The Silk Road case remains a pivotal landmark for both these dark web users and law enforcement since it was the first dark web marketplace in existence and the first to be seized and taken down by the FBI.

It might be a long time before newer cases involving the now-closed Silk Road marketplace are finally settled.

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