Silk Road’s Lesser-Known Players

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. Silk Road 3 is up and running with a big selection of goods.

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Silkroad was, and still is in one form, an online black market. Silkroad dealt primarily in selling illegal drugs and was run and managed in such a way that it was possible to browse and purchase as an anonymous user, with high security measures put in place so as to limit traffic monitoring and spying. Many know of its founder Ross William Ulbricht, a.k.a. Dread Pirate Roberts, but less is known about his two secret employees, Variety Jones and Smed.

What Was Silkroad?

Silk Road

Silkroad was originally founded in February 2011, and derived its name from an old historical network of trade routes used between many countries including China, India and many European countries during the Han Dynasty. Many drug dealers and users would securely search the Silkroad website in order to buy and sell their illegal goods. Dread Pirate Roberts was the operator of Silkroad, a pseudonym derived from a character in the novel and movie The Princess Bride. Once public awareness of the Silkroad market grew, arrests and trials began emerging for many users and operators and eventually Ross William Ulbricht himself was arrested in October 2013. The Silkroad website was closed down, but since then other versions have emerged.

The Other Players

Of course it would have been an overwhelming job to operate and control the online drug market Silkroad all by himself as popularity and users grew, and so Dread Pirate Roberts hired a minimal team to support him. These would range from forum moderators to market administrators, and over the years most of these have now been apprehended. However, the two most important cogs in this well-oiled machine have never been publicly revealed.

Variety Jones

Variety Jones was a member of Silkroad since 2011, and dealt primarily in the selling of marijuana. Behind the scenes, however, it was revealed that he had a much more sinister role, according to Ulbricht as both a financial advisor and a mentor. It was even revealed that Variety was the one who suggested both the infamous pseudonym and Ulbricht’s first murder-for-hire attempt (however, no murder actually occurred). Variety Jones and another known as Smedley or Smed were revealed to be the driving force behind the business, discussing future ideas and projects without the involvement of Ulbricht at all.

Smedley

The user known as Smedley began working on Silkroad at the beginning of 2012 and was hired for his coding abilities. He meticulously developed the infrastructure and was in talks with Variety jones to develop both an encrypted email network and service, and also implementing a bitcoin system for a more cryptic form of payment. In other words, it would appear that Variety Jones was the brain of the operation, working with Ulbricht to develop Silkroad into something much larger and more profitable, while Smed used his skills to develop their vision.

Ross William Ulbricht
So as you can see, despite Ulbricht (Dread Pirate Roberts) receiving all of the publicity and responsibility for Silkroad and its operations, there were two other very important characters at work. Many attempts to trace these two figures have been made and speculation has been made as to their identities, but the FBI and DEA have never made an official statement regarding their identities and current whereabouts.

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DPR Is The New Face Of Organized Crime

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silk Road 2.0.

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Ross William UlbrichtRoss William Ulbricht, also known as Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR), was arrested in October 2013 for establishing the online black market Silk Road, following extensive joint federal investigations. The 31-year old Silk Road founder was sentenced to life imprisonment after he was convicted on several felony charges. Judge Katherine Forrest served the harshest possible sentence in order to deter others from following his footsteps. During sentencing, she said that what he did with the website was dreadfully destructive to the social fabric.

Dread Pirate Roberts represents the changing face of organized crime as sophisticated criminal activity migrates to the virtual world. To perpetrate an online global enterprise for illicit activities, all that a young man requires is a laptop and Internet connection.

The Silk Road

Silk Road Marketplace

Silk Road website was created by Ulbricht in 2011 on Tor which enables buyers and sellers to anonymously trade illicit goods using Bitcoin, a virtual currency. Tor, originally created for the US Navy, protects online government communications, shielding the users from prying eyes. Silk Road was not the only Tor hidden market then, but it dominated the cryptomarket landscape for 2 years before the authorities shut it down. As many as 24,000 items were available on the site and they were mostly drugs. Out of the $1.2 million in sales that the site generated on a monthly basis, approximately $90,000 was shared by Ulbricht and associates.

Ulbricht is not the stereotype organized crime mob boss that the world has seen so far. His friends and family describe him as a humble, modest and caring person. However, the seven charges leveled against him included conspiracy to laundering money and traffic narcotics, operating a criminal enterprise as its kingpin and conspiring with others for trafficking in fraudulent Id documents.

The non-profit organization responsible for maintaining Tor, the Tor Project, says that the software provides a great deal of benefits to its 2.5 million users, including child protection, journalists’ safety and safe whistleblowing. However, criminals also take full advantage of the anonymity provided by Tor for buying and selling of illegal items.

Several darknet marketplaces have sprung up after Silk Road was shut down by the law enforcement authorities. As of now, at least 45 darknet marketplaces are in operation. Users who wants to buy illicit ware has to just create an account, select the required item, specify the quantity and pay using bitcoin. The item is then shipped through snail-mail. Stealth shipping methods, to prevent detection by law enforcement authorities, are also employed at an additional cost.

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Dark Wallet Developer Show Up In Support Of Silk Road Creator

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silk Road 2.0.

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Amir TaakiDark Wallet founder, British-Iranian Amir Taaki, recently came out in support of the convicted Silkroad boss, Ross Ulbricht. In a recent video, he talked about his communication with the Silk Road’s Dread Pirate Roberts. He said that “Dread Pirate Roberts” was only involved in Silkroad operations at the beginning but later subjugated duties to other administrators who oversaw its daily operations. Due to these factors it’s quite possible that the man could be innocent.

Taaki calls the Silkroad kingpin a good guy who’s always honest and candid when dealing with people, this based on the several conversations they had while Ulbricht was still using his pseudo identity. Amir believes that there were other individuals who had access to his virtual account, hence faking Ross’ identity in the process. These unscrupulous Silkroad personnel behaved differently each time he tried to start a conversation with them, which clearly shows that there were more than one administrator who had access to the Silkroad man’s online identity.

In his video, Amir says that some years back when he messaged Ulbricht they had a pleasant conversation together, talking about how one day the two would be out there struggling for web freedom, and not having to hide their identities anymore. However, 2 yrs. later when he started another conversation with him the Silkroad man had changed and could not even recollect their previous chats. It was apparent that he wasn’t the same guy as before. The conversation tone was different, and his attitude towards Taaki was in sharp contrast to the enthusiastic and wordy friend of before. This is exactly the same thing that was mentioned by the Silkroad boss’ defense team during trial, that someone could not know who was chatting on the other side of the computer.Dark Wallet

Moreover, in a previous interview of Dread Pirate Roberts conducted by Forbes, the then-current administrator disclosed that he didn’t start the Silkroad site but rather inherited control from the immediate predecessor. Though, Judge Katherine Forrest called the accused Silkroad creator “captain of the ship” and hand him more than 20 yrs. imprisonment.

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Mother Of Silk Road Creator Gives New Info About Her Son’s Case

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silk Road 2.0.

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Lyn UlbrichtLyn Ulbricht, the mother of convicted Silkroad kingpin Ross Ulbricht, known as “Dread Pirate Roberts”, is currently waging an intense campaign to get his son free from jail for charges she claims are false and only based on sensationalism and emotion. In an exclusive interview posted on YouTube for the world to see, Lyn says that she has new information about Ross’ Silkroad trial which sheds light on how the state conducts itself when investigating and prosecuting people.

Interviewed by Mr. Luke Rukowski, who is the founder of an organization seeking to expose corruption in higher places “WeAreChange.org”, Lyn Ulbricht claims that there are issues with how the Silkroad case was conducted that people need to know about. The information she’s giving is so crucial that at the beginning of the interview Rukowski describes it as “insane”.

She starts by claiming that the government issued a gag order to Reason magazine, when they published details on how people expressed shock with the sentencing of Ross. This is after authorities issued a grand jury subpoena to the administration, demanding them to release private information about Internet users who posted shocking messages about the Silkroad ruling.

Senator Charles Schumer

Ulbricht also questions New York Senator Charles Schumer’s actions, after calling for the closure of Silkroad and then “strangely” ordering that his son’s Silkroad trial be conducted in New York rather than California where he was initially arrested. The legal prosecutor was Chuck Schumer’s own special counsel for years, and the Silkroad judge was also suggested by the senator himself.

She further notes that the Silkroad judge didn’t allow Ross to defend himself but instead muzzled witnesses, totally refusing to hear their side of the story. Cross examination should have been done on both sides instead of only focusing on the Silkroad founder, particularly given the fact that two corrupt cops were found guilty of stealing money from the Silkroad website. These agents had unwarranted access to the organization’s finances even before the final prosecution was made against Ross Ulbricht, something that is in total disregard of the law since everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Lyn further states that the U.S. government acted in contempt of the court, by allowing their agents to pilferage Silkroad accounts even though Ross had not yet been convicted but only arraigned in court.

According to her own words, the corrupt agents “…had full access to the Silkroad site for almost a year” before trial, therefore trusting evidence solicited from a server which was already tampered with was not fair for the victim. This Silkroad case was overrun by hard feelings and even though she feels terrible “for those parents of people who died from using those drugs”, the courtroom should have relied more on facts and evidence than sentiments.

Ulbricht alleges that they hired a professional forensic pathologist to study the alleged deaths, and after several months of research he concluded that there’s no scientific evidence proving that the victims died from consuming Silkroad drugs, or any other illegal substance for that matter. Moreover, the government relying on digital evidence which could have easily been forged is setting a “very troubling precedent” for future convictions.

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Silk Road Founder Pleads To Be Spared A Life In Prison

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silk Road 2.0.

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Ross Ulbricht Silkroad kingpin Ross Ulbricht, 31, recently expressed regret for his crimes, and purposely begged the Manhattan federal judge for mercy come his sentencing on 29th May. According to a letter sent to the juror, “Dread Pirate Roberts” as he was commonly known at the Silkroad termed his site as a “naïve and expensive idea” which did nothing but ruin his entire life.

If his plead is not heeded to, the man faces a mandatory sentence of 20 yrs. minimum jail-term or life imprisonment at worst. In a two-page request addressed to Judge Katherine Forrest on Friday 22nd May, he says that Silkroad was intended to be a place where people found true freedom in making personal choices and following their own kind of happiness. However, some Silkroad users understood this the wrong way and turned it into a place to satisfy their own substance addictions.

Earlier on, Ulbricht claimed in a court session that he started the site only as an “economic experiment” and didn’t know it would become such a big deal some few months down the line. He also said that he passed full-control of the Silkroad site to someone else who became in-charge of operations. These statements are yet to be proved right, though the jury still found him guilty of all 7 criminal charges labeled against him, including drug trafficking and conspiracy to commit an offense through the Silkroad site.

images996Mr. Ross, who holds a bachelor’s degree in pure physics and masters in material science, laments that Silkroad destroyed his future as he could have done so much more to improve his career. But it’s too late now and very little can be done to salvage the situation. He says that his midlife years have already been taken away by the minimum sentence required, though the panel should at least be merciful enough not to give him life imprisonment so that he can enjoy his old age in freedom. Dread Robert Pirates asked Silkroad Judge Forrest to grant him a considerate verdict with some light at the end of the tunnel.

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The Undisclosed Story Of The Silk Road Saga

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silk Road 2.0.

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Dread Pirate RobertsThe story about the rise and ultimate fall of the Silk Road has been in the news for the past few years, and culminated in its founder Ross Ulbricht, who went by the handle “Dread Pirate Roberts”, being found guilty of creating and operating the online marketplace. His sentencing has been postponed to 29th of May, and he is also expected to appeal his conviction.

While people know some of the names of the big players in this story, not too many people really know how the Silk Road came about, becoming the largest online marketplace to buy and sell illegal drugs, and how it all came crashing down.

Ross Ulbricht, a smart young man who grew up in Austin, Texas, went from a student at Penn State University, who was working on getting his master’s degree in materials science and engineering.

While he was at Penn State, Ulbricht became less interested in engineering, and more interested in economics. Upon his graduation, he moved back home to Austin, where he tried his hands at trading, and video game developing with no success. He eventually helped his friend build a website that sold used books, and it had some success after a while. While running the book company, Ulbricht started learning about bitcoins, which could be used anonymously, and had the idea to create a marketplace where anybody can buy anything, including drugs. In January 2011, the Silk Road marketplace was live.

Silk Road enjoyed a lot of uninterrupted success for over a year, before law enforcement agencies got wind of what was going on, and made over $1 billion in sales, but soon after, it all started to crumble.

The first crack in the Silk Road armor came through the arrest of Curtis Green, a 47-year -old man who lived in Utah, and was busted for possession of $27,000 worth of cocaine, with intent to distribute, during a DEA sting operation. He ended up working for the government, due to fears of him being assassinated by Ulbricht, if word of his arrest ever got out, because of what he knew about the operation.

Another major player in the Silk Road saga was Special Agent Carl Mark Force IV, a DEA agent who went undercover with the sole purpose of becoming friends with Ulbricht, by pretending to be a cartel operative. He started to build a little trust with Ulbricht, and caught a break when Ulbricht found out that Curtis Green had been arrested. He figured correctly that Green would cooperate with law enforcement agents, and also found out that $350,000 in bitcoins went missing, so he enlisted Force to torture him and eventually asked him to execute Green.

DEADespite the fact that he asked a DEA agent to commit murder, nobody knew who Ulbricht was, until June 2013, when a Reddit user posted a warning about the Silk Road’s IP address being visible to others. This was the break that law enforcement agents had been waiting for, and it led to them finding out Ulbricht’s physical address in San Francisco, where he had been living. Law enforcement agents paid him a visit at the address, but still couldn’t prove that he was Dread Pirate Roberts, so they couldn’t arrest him.

Now that they knew who he was, the law enforcement agents kept a close eye on him, waiting for him to slip up. Eventually, they were able to get access to the Silk Road, as administrators. They used the access that they had as administrative users to confirm that he was indeed Dread Pirate Roberts, and they were able to arrest him at a local library, in October 2013, a few months after they tracked him down.

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Different Personas Of The Silk Road Ex-DEA Agent

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silk Road 2.0.

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DEA agentThe Justice Department has charged former DEA agent, Carl Mark Force IV, and Shaun Bridges, 32, with committing numerous instances of fraud while investigating the Silk Road. Force and Bridges, were both part of a Baltimore based task force committed to taking down the Silk Road, they are accused of money laundering and wire fraud. Carl Mark Force is also accused of stealing government property.

Carl Mark Force IV was the lead agent tasked with setting up communication with Dread Pirate Roberts, but the complaint against Force alleges that he did more than that. A Justice Department memo states that Force created additional online personas that he then used to engage in a wide range of illegal activities.

As an undercover agent, Force used the pseudonym “Nob” to develop a rapport with Dread Pirate Roberts (Ross Ulbricht, the operator of Silk Road), he convinced him through private messages on the Silk Road that he was a drug smuggler with international connections.

In the criminal complaint the authorities acknowledge that Carl Mark Force IV was “Nob”. However, it was only after Ross Ulbricht was arrested, and his Samsung 700z laptop seized, that the authorities learned how much of Force’s activity on the Silk Road hadn’t been recorded or reported to the prosecutors and his supervisors.

BitcoinAuthorities say Clark M. Force created the online persona “French Maid”, which wasn’t known by the task force members. Force then used the pseudonym “French Maid”, to sell sensitive law-enforcement information to the Dread Pirate Roberts. Federal prosecutors say that Ross Ulbricht’s own notes show that he paid “French Maid” $100,000 worth of bitcoins in exchange for information about somebody who had given his name to the law enforcement agencies.

Under another pseudonym, “Death From Above”, Force is accused of telling Ross Ulbricht he was a Green-Beret and a close friend of Curtis Green, whose murder Ross Ulbricht allegedly believed that he had paid for. Death From Above wrote to Dread Pirate Roberts and threatened to reveal his real name if Ross Ulbricht did not pay him $250,000. A screen recording program on Carl Mark Force’s DEA computer captured a video of him writing as the Death From Above.

Additionally, Force operated illegally as the Chief Compliance Officer for a third party exchange, CoinMKT, and used his powers to run illegal background checks, fake documents and steal customer funds.

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Significant Facts In The Life Of Dread Pirate Roberts

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silk Road 2.0.

>> Click here to find the best alternative: Agora Marketplace <<

Ross Ulbricht Ross Ulbricht was born on March 27th 1984 in Austin, Texas to parents Kirk and Lynn Ulbricht. He also has an older sister Cally who is ahead of him by 5yrs. The 30 yr. old self-confessed scientist and web programmer graduated high school at the age of 18 from West Lake High School, by which time he was already fashioning himself as a future philosopher and “liberator” of the people.

In a short video clip that was posted on YouTube April 12, 2007, he sent a chilling response to the then-presidential contestant Mitt Romney who was asking what America’s greatest predicament was. Ross Ulbricht replied by saying that getting the country out of UN is the only solution. Later on, Ulbricht posted a Facebook page where he outlined his thoughts as to what exactly constitutes freedom. He urged readers to create a world where all inhabitants, and their future generations can be freer than those who lived before them.

Three years later in 2010, Ross opened his own personal bookstore called Goodwagon Books in his native town Austin, TX. At the same time, he also built a makeshift DIY “shroomery” for growing hallucinogenic fungi inside a remote log cabin in Bastrop area.

After his early endeavors failed to pick up, Ulbricht decided to go online with the Silk Road idea but admitted that he told way too many people about it. In one of his journals Ross writes that “Everyone knows too much”.

Man Soon after starting the Silk Road site and becoming its primary administrator, Ulbricht took the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts as his login details, after a film character in the cultish movie The Princess Bride. On March 2013, DPR solicited for his first out of a total of 6 homicides for hire that he orchestrated. This was after a minor user on the Silk Road site tried to extort cash from him, by threatening to publicly release the Silk Road users’ true identities. Though things were heated up at the moment, these killings were eventually not carried out. Dread Pirate Roberts was arrested by FBI on October 1, 2013 in a San Francisco public library.

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The Documentary “Deep Web”

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. The best Darknet Market available is the Agora Marketplace. It has the best reputation and a bigger selection of goods than Silkroad 2.0.

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Deep Web The Deep Web documentary that premiered at SXSW delves into a story of Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht also known as the Dread Pirate Roberts.

You may call it the expedition of Bill & Ted. The Deep Web documentary is a brand new film about the darknet and its cyberhacker origins. The film is directed by Alex Winter featuring discreet vocal talents of the narrator. The Bill & Ted reunion is the most prominent defense of convicted Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. The supporters say the feds sent him on a false journey of 30 yrs. to life.

Deep Web, which premiered a week ago at SXSW, projects beyond sharing of files and into the dark corners of the internet where governments, activists, journalist, hackers, including criminals anonymously trade information and ideas, leaving behind a trail of non-traceable ones and zeros.

Silk RoadJust within the confines of the deep web lies the TOR darknet, where absolute paradoxical entities just like the libertarian-minded darknet site, Silk Road. Silk Road represents the internet’s new dynamic and radical potential, it had been reported that there are 960,000 users and a whopping $1.2 billion in drug sales that are illegal. Nicolas Christin observes in the film that it really isn’t so much about selling drugs as such it’s about making the strong political statement.

Like the Silkroad creator, some claim to have spun the darknet marketplace of drugs as a crime reduction tool that took away drug transactions off the street at the same time lessening violence even more effectively than the actual America’s War on Drugs. In Deep Web, experts have argued that the Silk Road rating system and market philosophies forced accountability more from vendors.

Senator Charles Schumer uncovered the Silk Road in 2011, asking the government with immediate effect to close the online bazaar annually making millions in selling hard drugs, including some drugs which were mailed to teenage buyers.

Dread Pirate RobertsThe Dread Pirate Roberts wrote to defend that it was all about standing up for the rights of human beings and ensuring they don’t submit when they have not done any wrong. In less than two months later, Ross Ulbricht who was then 29 years of age was arrested in San Francisco Public Library in FBI sting operation and consequently charged with seven counts which included, computer hacking, money laundering and drug trafficking conspiracy.

His laptop had $28.5 million in bitcoins and chats logs including documents, which prosecutors said proved beyond reasonable doubt that he was running the Silk Road.

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Silk Road Trial: Defense Lawyer objected To The Omission Of The Internet symbol

ANNOUNCEMENT: Well it has happened! Another Silkroad Darknet Market has spawned after the demise of Silkroad 2.0. The new site is called Silkroad Reloaded and is utilizing different technology than its predecessors therefore a new guide for Silkroad Reloaded will be coming soon. In the meantime Agora Marketplace is still alive and kicking bigger than ever with more listings than Silkroad 2.0.

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Emoticons (Happy)Internet symbols, otherwise known as an emoticons or an emojis, have formed the most recent subplot in the ongoing high-profile case involving the alleged Silkroad operator, Ross Ulbricht. The issue came up after the prosecution conspicuously ignored a smiley face, a popular Internet symbol that was part of a message Ulbricht had sent.

Ulbricht’s lawyer, Joshua L. Dratel objected to the omission, claiming that it was critically important, yet the prosecutors had chosen to omit it. The trial judge, Katherine B. Forrest, ruled in favor of the defense, and since then the prosecution has had to include all emoticons used in Ulbricht’s private communications when reading the evidence.

Understandably, this has made the Silkroad hearing quite awkward. Nevertheless, this is not the first time unusual changes have had to be introduced into the hearing in the Silkroad case. More than a week ago, the court had to be told what “IRL” meant, which in web talk stands for “in real life”. In regard to the emoticon, the judge claimed that it was part of the evidence.

Silk Road MarketplaceThe Silkroad trial, which has been going on for the past three weeks, has seen more than its fair share of twists and turns. For instance, the defense has denied the claim that Ulbricht ran Silkroad under the alias of “Dread Pirate Roberts”, as was earlier shown to be the case earlier in the trial.

Ross Ulbricht is charged with creating and running the online black market site, Silkroad, and the trial has just started. Ulbricht is also considered a co-conspirator in the thriving underground illicit market that included trading in drugs and other illicit products through the now defunct Silkroad platform. Silkroad was the Internet underworld version of e-Bay, a place where illicit and anonymous trading activity could take place unhindered on a hidden part of the Internet called the Tor Network.

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