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.

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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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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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.

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

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 Founder’s Latest Petition for Rehearing Denied

Once again, the man behind the notorious Silk Road is back in the news. Ross Ulbricht, founder and lead administrator of the infamous darknet market, just started a new chapter in his seemingly endless back-and-forth battle with the courts in an effort to appeal his life sentence.

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 <<

Petition word cloud concept
A U.S. court has again denied Ross Ulbricht, the man behind the notorious Silk Road market, a petition seeking for a rehearing of his life sentence.

For the past five years, Ulbricht’s legal team has worked continuously to pursue several options to sway the court. But viable options appear to be diminishing—particularly after the outcome of his latest court petition.

Last week, his efforts to secure a case rehearing were quickly thwarted when New York Southern District Court Judge Katherine B. Forrest denied Ross Ulbricht’s petition.

Ulbricht first received his sentence back in 2015 with the judge ruling for life imprisonment without any possibility of parole.

The sentence was for the charges of establishing and operating Silk Road, then a highly famous darknet marketplace that was ultimately shut down in 2013 after Ulbricht’s arrest.

Ever since, his defense team has headed a series of legal battles attempting to fight his conviction for various charges, including conspiracy to traffic drugs and money laundering.

The Latest Setback in the Silk Road Case

Unlike before, the delivery of the judgment was more laconic, with the judge blatantly stating that the said motion was denied.

This conciseness of the judgment delivery is perhaps a reflection of the mere fact that the judge had earlier made an initial ruling with regards to the arguments set forth by the defendant.

The same judge had denied an earlier motion presented to her by the defendant subsequently extending the time for an appeal motion.

In her delivery, Judge Forrest went to outline that the motion is neither a door for anyone to re-litigate what is already litigated, nor a chance to carry out an effort to come up with new evidence in the Silk Road case.

Back then, the Judge took notice that at the time, the court did take into consideration that Ulbricht’s counsel was not part of the trial.

Even so, the transcripts indicate that the evidence to which he is now referring to (claims that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was closely following his online movements) was however well known and used in the trial.

In her statement, she said that this was not any new and as such, there was no substantive cause shown that would result in a delay in the deadline.

Surveillance During Silk Road Investigation

DENIED word made with building blocks
For the past five years, Ulbricht’s legal team has worked continuously to pursue several options to sway the court.

According to Ulbricht, the court has not only overlooked but has also misapplied and misapprehended pertinent law and certain facts.

In his defense, he outlines that the court is misguided in its perception of the evidence brought forth by the defendant since it is, as a matter of fact, fresh evidence which was not earlier disclosed or known to the court at the trial period.

In reference to his counsel, Ulbricht indicates that what was unknown to the court before the Silk Road trial was that the authorities were making use of unauthorized surveillance tools in their efforts to keep track of both his physical movements together with his location while he was in his residence.

What’s more, the defendant’s counsel also went ahead to claim that the U.S. government was in possession of both additional material and internet activity monitoring data collected by the FBI during the Silk Road investigation, which are both substantial evidence crucial for the defense’s preparation.

This, they said, is because the government heavily relied on this material when they applied for the residence and laptop search warrants, as is required by U.S. legal codes which govern criminal investigations by law enforcement.

This material was crucial in pinning Ulbricht as the operator of the Silk Road darknet market.

The defense’s earlier request for an extension of time was so as to not only acquire but also scrutinize this data.

This is among the several applications Ross Ulbricht has filed.

In May 2017, he had also filed for an appeal for his sentence of life imprisonment and, just like Judge Forrest did this year, the panel of judges in the Northeastern Appeals Court also denied his request.

The reasons for the rejection of the appeals seem to center around the fact that the defendant’s counsel always files for an appeal under the same grounds.

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Silk Road Founder Appeals to the Supreme Court

  Updated coverage on Ross Ulbricht case here

Ross Ulbricht, the brains behind the underground website Silk Road, renowned for the easy-access sale of illicit drugs, has officially made his appeal plea to the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS).

This formal application seeks to set up a hearing to overturn his sentencing of life imprisonment without the likelihood of any parole.

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 judge gavel and red legal book on wooden table
Lawyers of Ross Ulbricht, the creator of the Silk Road, have officially filed an appeal court order with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Defined as the writ of certiorari, this plea orders the next lower court (the Court of Appeals), to immediately submit all its records to the Supreme Court for it to review and consequently make a ruling.

Supreme Court to Possibly Review Silk Road Case

The SCOTUS comprises a nine-member bench that functions as the ultimate arbiter in all legal matters.

Of the nine in the current court, five are considered reasonably conservative while the rest (four in number) are generally more permissive.

Neil Gorsuch, the overall head of the court just recently appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump, is considered to be reasonably fair on issues of the Fourth Amendment, which forms the grounds on which Ulbricht is basing his appeal case.

Nevertheless, despite the hype surrounding this case, much is yet to be done before anything substantial is known.

Amazingly, the SCOTUS is not obligated to go ahead with this petition.

In truth, the SCOTUS only sits to hear approximately 150 cases of the more than 7,000 pleas submitted to its premises on an annual basis.

In most cases, the rulings as delivered by the federal Circuit Courts act as the ultimate word for many of the cases.

Surprisingly, of the several appellate courts, the Second Circuit (which delivered Ulbricht’s ruling) receives the lowest reversal frequency from the SCOTUS.

This means that for Ulbricht, taking the case to the SCOTUS may not offer him the reprieve he so much hopes for even if the SCOTUS decides to take up the matter.

In many cases, the SCOTUS will only hear a writ if it concerns national significance or if they want to lay the curtain on existing inconsistencies in a decision, or even to establish precedence.

What’s more, they only hear a case if four of the nine justices vote to accept it.

The clerks of the justices do the initial reviewing of the writ, and it is from there that they draft a summary recommending a hearing.

The justices then convene for a conference to deliberate on these recommendations and decide on whether or not to proceed with the trial.

Two Questions for Silk Road Appeal Argument

Rubber stamping that says 'Appeal'.
Ross Ulbricht, the brains behind the underground website Silk Road, renowned for the easy-access sale of illicit drugs, has officially made his appeal plea to the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS).

The plea submitted by Ulbricht’s lawyers centers on two critical questions as per the writ:

  1. Is the Fourth Amendment violated in case of a warrantless seizure without probable cause on a person’s internet traffic?
  2. Does the Sixth Amendment allow judges to require that facts be presented to support an otherwise unreasonable sentence?

However, looking at the U.S. Constitution, there is a particularly peculiar aspect especially since the document outlines the duties of the government and its characteristic functions, but it also describes the amendments to those precise functions.

The top ten form what is called the “Bill of Rights,” which are restrictive laws that prohibit the government from committing certain acts.

The pertinent part of the Fourth Amendment on which Ulbricht’s case centers involves citizens’ right to privacy.

The amendment states that their privacy should not be violated unless the courts issue a warrant upon probable cause.

Similarly, the pertinent Sixth Amendment section states that the defendant in any criminal prosecution has the right to a fair and speedy trial under an impartial jury.

With this in mind, Ulbricht’s lead attorney outlines that the Silk Road case presents two significant constitutional questions with a wider significance for criminal defendant rights in general.

Urgent Need for Digital Age Legislation

Warrantless searches potentially play a significant role in this particular case since the information the prosecutors used against the defendant was apparently compiled under a third-party doctrine.

This allowed Silk Road investigators to carry out searches on Ross Ulbricht’s digital activities, presumed to be publically accessible via a telecommunications firm and a modem.

The doctrine in itself needs immediate amending notably because it dates back to a time when laptops, phones and internet services did not form a critical part of a person’s daily routine.

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U.S. Government Nets $48M from Sale of Seized Silk Road Bitcoins

After several years of uncertainty, the United States government has finally claimed the $48 million in funds earned from the Silk Road, a notorious online drug marketplace whose operations were terminated in 2013.

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 <<

FBI agent gathers evidence
The U.S. government has finally claimed $48 million brought in after the infamous Silk Road was seized by the feds in 2013.

In the successful government raid of the market, the authorities seized 144,336 Bitcoins, all which were auctioned off in 2014 and 2015.

The delay in receiving these auction proceeds came courtesy of numerous lawsuits from none other than Ross Ulbricht, the initial operator of the Silk Road online platform that sought to contest the legitimacy of seizing the units.

Nonetheless, Ulbricht has subsequently decided not to proceed with his claims, which therefore means that the U.S. government, through its Department of Justice, is now $48 million “richer.”

The Silk Road Takedown

Silk Road was a dark web marketplace which served as a hub for anonymous transactions for numerous forms of illegal activities and products, particularly narcotics.

Ross Ulbricht, who was then the principal figure associated with the operations of the Silk Road, disguised himself as the moniker of the “Dread Pirate Roberts,” a character adapted from the film The Princess Bride.

The site started off as a typically anonymous venture, which mandated for word-of-mouth communications to gain access.

Even so, this site grew in popularity with Ulbricht accepting an interview by Forbes. Eventually, the site caught the attention of authorities who later on brought down the famed platform together with its original operator, the Dread Pirate Roberts.

In 2015, Ulbricht was sentenced to life imprisonment after the jury convicted him of charges of hacking, money laundering and illicit drug trafficking.

He recently withdrew his lawsuit seeking to bar the U.S. government from not only selling the cryptocurrency for cash but also forfeiting the resulting funds to satisfy their legal suits against him.

Paul Grant, the attorney to Ulbricht, confirmed that the U.S. Department of Justice would allocate the funds for general use—an act that he referred to as “sad for justice.”

In May of this year, a life sentence and jury conviction against Ulbricht was upheld by the Second Circuit court after he had challenged the ruling.

His decision to appeal the conviction was motivated by the fact that his prosecutors had conducted unlawful electronic searches to make a case against him, not to mention the fact that purportedly corrupt federal agents had attempted to draw on the investigation to disguise their intentions of extorting cryptocurrency units.

Grant later confirmed that he and his client were exploring legal means to overturn both the sentence and conviction.

As per the prosecutors’ claims, Ulbricht launched the Silk Road back in 2011, then permitting users to buy computer hacking software, illegal drugs and other illicit products.

Before officers brought its operations to an end in October 2013, the site used an exclusive Bitcoin payment system to carry out the transactions, a factor that ensured customers’ identities remained anonymous.

By the time the authorities burst its operations, numerous individuals had succumbed to drug overdose courtesy of the narcotics purchased from this site.

Prosecutors later tied these deaths to Ulbricht, who had evaded the authorities innumerable times under the codename “Dread Pirate Roberts” and later ditched the play and sympathized with the victims.

Still, authorities were able to tie him to another serious crime as well.

It was stated that he had tried to petition murder-for-hire cases against his blackmailer, among other enemies, at a total cost of $730,000.

Young FBI agent in uniform
FBI tracked him through several forged documents

The operation did bear fruit when the Federal Bureau of Investigations was able to track him down through assessing several forged identification documents in various packages originating in Canada and heading to a similar address back in San Francisco, California.

The Silk Road was subsequently shut down (although other versions later cropped up) and the suspect, Ross Ulbricht, was consequently sentenced to a life imprisonment without any possibility of parole for charges of conspiracy to trafficking narcotics, computer hacking, and money laundering.

Timing is Ever Crucial           

Finally, and this is where most Bitcoin holders will incessantly lament, by selling the 144,336 units at $334 for each in 2014 and 2015, the U.S. government has pocketed $48 million.

Surprisingly, had they waited until just after Ulbricht had finally dropped his legal claim about the unlawful seizure, the headlines would now be reading “U.S. Government Claims $630 million” for those same units.

Nevertheless, there is little information on exactly where this $48 million bankroll will go.

While federal agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the FBI or even the Department of Treasury might be the potential benefactors, it is only best to assume that this money will not be put to proper use since the federal government is never really one for financial responsibility when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

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Mother’s Latest Update on Her Son, Ross Ulbricht

It has been four years after the famous Silk Road was shut down by the FBI, and customers who benefitted from the website have moved to other leading darknet market platforms—bidding adieu to the dark web marketplace to excel their businesses elsewhere.

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 <<

male inmate behind prison bars
Lyn Ulbricht, the mother of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, speaks of the flaws in the justice system and offers details about her son’s present life.

While ex-Silk Road users found a new home at emerging marketplaces in the absence of the site, a fierce trial was taking place in the U.S. court system to bring down the market’s founder, Ross Ulbricht, who ran the Silk Road under the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

After pleading guilty to drug-related charges, Ulbricht received a life sentence verdict. This left his mother, Lyn Ulbricht, distraught yet determined to reverse the ruling through the appellate courts.

For two years, she tirelessly worked to rally up enough support for her son’s appeal but, ultimately, she did not succeed. Earlier this year, a Second Circuit judge rejected the life sentence appeal.

Only a few months after Ross lost his life sentence appeal, Lyn confirmed that she had filed a rehearing with the Second Circuit panel.

As the name suggests, this filing requests the court that they should reconsider the verdict. But the court denied the request in August.

At this point, most professionals and lawyers do believe that it is not possible to change the verdict on Ross’s case.

Latest Updates on Ross, Lyn’s Candid Talk

At present, Ross Ulbricht is in prison without any chances of parole. His mother is persistent in working to change the U.S. judicial system and the way it treated her son.

In a recent public appearance, she revealed some detail about what went on during these years, opening up about her son’s life inside prison and the things she wants to see changed.

Life Inside Prison

Being the doting mother and son duo, Ross and Lyn have kept in touch throughout these years as she campaigned for his prison release and gathered supporters through the Free Ross movement.

Speaking about Ross’ life inside prison, Lyn confirmed that even though he had to spend three and half years in a New York prison institution, it is much better to be in the Colorado facility where Ross is currently located.

She also said that the New York prison is a transitional facility and never designed for long-term living, whereas the Colorado institution is much more spacious and inhabitable. It’s a high and maximum security prison, but not supermax.

Lyn felt that Ross should never be in a high-security prison because his crimes are non-violent but because of his long-term sentence, he is forced to be there.

Even if the judge had given him a sentence less than 30 years, he could be in a medium security prison. He has never been harmful in any way to be there, she added.

An Unfair Judgment for Silk Road Creator

mallet of judge
Her mother was dissatisfied with the justice system.

Lyn Ulbricht is extremely dissatisfied with the justice system for giving her son such a harsh punishment for a non-violent crime.

She felt that the FBI and law enforcement officials wanted to make an example out of him, forcing him to bear the burden of other darknet market dealers that sell and smuggle illegal drugs and weapons, or conduct other unlawful activities over the dark web.

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Silk Road Creator’s Appeal for Rehearing Denied by Court

Court of Appeals title on Legal Documents
The Court of Appeals has rejected a petition for a panel or full rehearing filed by Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the Silk Road darknet marketplace.

It has been more than five years since the apprehension and subsequent court battles ensued for the founder of the infamous darknet marketplace, Silk Road.

The legal avenues for the convicted Ross Ulbricht, also known as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” seem to thin out following the results of his petition last week.

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 <<

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court denied Ulbricht a rehearing of his conviction and consequent life imprisonment sentence.

Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole back in 2015, following his arrest for creating and running the Silk Road, which was a highly popular dark web drug market before its 2013 shutdown.

He has since fought his conviction for crimes including money laundering and drug trafficking conspiracies, as well as the unduly harsh prison sentence.

Ulbricht had filed a petition for a panel or a full rehearing of the case, which was rejected by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The petition hearing was held at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse in New York City.

It is worth noting that Ross Ulbricht had earlier this year filed an appeal for his life sentence, which was denied by the panel of the northeastern appeals court in May of 2017.

It would be safe to speculate that the reasons for the denial of the August petition are the same as the May petition.

gavel on table
Judges dismissed the arguments

In the May case, Ulbricht’s lawyers pointed out the illegal searches carried out by authorities investigating the Silk Road, as well as the involvement of corrupt federal agents in overseeing the effort leading to his harsh sentence for non-violent crimes.

The three-judge appellate panel addressed and dismissed the arguments and upheld the decision of the lower court, although they disagreed with the unexpectedly harsh sentence and American drug laws.

It is yet to be known whether the August appeal was denied on the same grounds, but it is highly likely.

The anticipated legal move for the Silk Road founder is a petition to the Supreme Court.

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Silk Road Founder Moved to Another Location

Family members of Ross Ulbricht, founder of the notorious Silk Road darknet market, tried to visit their beloved family member in the early days of July at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York.

Unfortunately, they could not find him at his assigned correctional facility. Instead, the family learned that the authorities decided to transfer him to another location.

 

NOTE: Silk Road 3.1 was supposedly HACKED and the owners have closed it down. It is a shame, but before too long there will most likely be a Silk Road 4. In the recent weeks, AlphaBay and Hansa markets were seized by law enforcement so they are also gone. But not to worry. The next biggest market is Dream Market. Go to https://dreammarketdrugs.com and you are back on another excellent darknet market.  You must keep your identity safe, always use a VPN, and PGP, never use your real email or name. Happy Trails.

corridor in a prison at night showing jail cells
Earlier this month, the Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht was transferred to another correctional facility without any notice.

In response to this disturbing development, the family took to Twitter to inform the public of what they had just discovered.

They did so through the hashtag #FreeRoss. Ulbricht contacted them the following day informing them about the transfer. The family also tweeted about this development.

The family members have expressed a great deal of concern over the correctional facility that would house Ulbricht.

They feel that it might be hostile to him. For example, the July 6 tweet suggested that Ulbricht deserves a prison that has a safe and secure backyard.

Ross Ulbricht’s Vision & Philosophy

Ulbricht, a Penn State University graduate, wanted to build a dark web site using Bitcoin and Tor.

Tor would help him hide his IP while Bitcoin would help him hide the connection between his identity and his online wallet. He thought that this kind of anonymity would help him evade enforcement officers.

In 2010, Ulbricht embarked on his dream. More specifically, he started building the dark web market called Silk Road, where he would use Dread Pirate Roberts as his login name.

As indicated in his diaries, he wanted to turn 2011 into “a year of prosperity” through this Silk Road venture.

On his profile description for his LinkedIn page, Ulbricht hinted that he envisioned the world as a place that should operate without coercion or aggression.

Silk Road’s End

In October of 2013, Ulbricht was arrested in connection with the darknet marketplace he had built.

An IRS investigator, Gary Alford, first suspected that Ulbricht was in fact running Silk Road under the Dread Pirate Roberts screenname.

Alford’s suspicions started in mid-2013 when he was working with the DEA on the Silk Road case.

Upon his arrest, Ross was charged with money laundering, computer hacking, procuring hitmen for murder and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.

Those who used his website accessed it via the Tor browser, after which they could buy anything, from jewelry to raw milk to narcotics. Then they would pay for these products using Bitcoins.

After his arrest, the Silk Road founder was put on trial where he would respond to all of these charges except the one for murder.

The prosecutor removed the murder charge but the people who procured various products from his site did not commit any murder with the goods they bought.

In May 2015, Ulbricht was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Post-Arrest Events & Subsequent Trial

Early in 2016, Ulbricht’s lawyers submitted an appeal claiming that the DEA’s evidence of the Silk Road investigation was illegally withheld by the prosecutor.

And in October 2016, there was an oral hearing of the appeal.

But in May of this year, the Court of Appeals ended up denying the appeal, confirming the judgment of life imprisonment.

However, Ulbricht argued that he was wrongly convicted and that the district court that arrested him violated the Fourth Amendment, which protects victims against unreasonable searches and seizures.

He claims he was denied the motion to suppress evidence. He also claims that he was deprived of the right to fair trial.

Ulbricht started his life imprisonment at the MCC in New York, but as of July 2017, he was moved to another location.

Dread Pirate Roberts’ Life in Prison

letters life prison barbed wire.frame
Family members said that Ulbricht deserves a prison that has a safe and secure backyard

Before Ulbricht was moved to an unknown correctional center early in July, reports from his family members indicated that the Silk Road founder had learned how to adapt to prison life.

Lyn Ulbricht, Ross’s mother, campaigned for her son’s release by telling the story of how he planted a seed in one corner of his cell and then used damp towel to support it until it sprouted.

Unfortunately, it was taken away by a prison guard and placed on the counselor’s desk.

Ulbricht’s Life Before Prison

Before he was nabbed, Ulbricht used to travel the world visiting some of the most beautiful beaches and engaging in surfing.

The drug kingpin and dark web mastermind looked like any other regular tourist. You would not have imagined him to be the Dread Pirate Roberts.

However, when he was not in the water surfing, he would be busy using his hotel room’s free Wi-Fi to manage his dark web site.

Conviction Actually Feeds Darknet Market Trends

Though the Silk Road kingpin was seized by law enforcement, drug trafficking has not stopped.

In fact, illegal trade on the dark web has seen an increase in sales after the news came that Ulbricht was sentenced to life imprisonment.

From such results, one can only conclude that the media coverage of Ross Ulbricht and Silk Road only publicized his works.

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A Delve into the Silk Road Creator’s Coinbase Wallet Freeze

Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange company, has disabled the “Free Ross” campaign wallet that was meant to help raise funds for Ross Ulbricht, who was the founder and admin of the 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 <<

This freeze took place right after the campaign had received 16.5 Bitcoins in donations, a value equivalent to $40,200.

Bit-coin in the wallet
A look into some possibilities for why Coinbase blocked a digital wallet held by “Free Ross,” a fundraising campaign to help cover legal defense costs for the Silk Road founder.

The Ulbricht family is the official manager of the Free Ross campaign.

It was launched to raise funds for Ross Ulbricht’s appeal and legal defense.

After the news of the freeze, members from the Free Ross campaign and others who followed the case closely were quick to offer assistance in order to resolve the situation.

Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2015 for his alleged involvement with the Silk Road, an online market for drug transactions and other illegal business dealings.

The court revealed that he operated the darknet market under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

The site’s illegal products and services were the main reason for Ulbricht’s harsh sentence, due to the massive scale facilitated in the drug trade.

In May 2017, an appellate court denied an application from his legal team.

Ulbricht’s campaign team confirmed the Coinbase freeze.

They stated that they had moved the Bitcoins to Coinbase from blockchain, to enable them to convert to USD and pay for Ross’ defense. However, upon trying to validate their account, it was disabled without any explanation.

All they were told is that Coinbase would get back to them in 72 hours.

Coinbase is one of the most standardized Bitcoin exchange services in the United States.

This company is highly regulated. It’s registered and certified as a Money Service Business with FinCEN.

Hence, it is expected to comply with many financial services and consumer protection laws.

This company has been known to freeze accounts whenever any suspicious activity is noticed.

It also freezes the accounts of those who engage in online gambling. Coinbase has a strict policy where it requires details about how clients intend to use their Bitcoins.

The Silk Road creator’s campaign team has been in operation since the first time he was arrested in October 2013 over the same issue.

The Free Ross campaign has not engaged in any illicit activities. All the campaign does is just present Ulbricht’s side of the story.

In addition, the team tries to raise funds to pay for legal defense and appeals.

The campaign had not been storing all its Bitcoins on Coinbase, but was using the account to convert donations to USD.

Still, the Ross Ulbricht-related plot thickens. Just recently, Coinbase announced that a former federal prosecutor named Kathryn Haun was joining its board of directors.

holding a smartphone and virtual system diagram bitcoin
A digital currency coordinator at the United States Department of Justiceis now joining Coinbase’s board of directors

Haun was a digital currency coordinator at the United States Department of Justice, where her primary focus was on national security, cybercrime, financial fraud and gang activity.

She mainly led investigations into the corrupt federal agents that had been accused of theft and corruption during the Silk Road case.

Both suspects were successfully prosecuted and are now serving a jail term.

The news of Haun joining Coinbase’s board of directors did not sit well with some members of the Bitcoin community.

The freezing of the Silk Road creator’s campaign wallet was a little suspicious, especially since it happened soon after her appointment to the board.

However, it turns out Haun was not the prosecutor that convicted the Silk Road founder.

Coinbase has since unblocked Ross Ulbricht’s legal defense wallet after a flurry of complaints.

The Free Ross twitter account posted that the freeze was an auto security response that occurred after a possible link to previous compromised account.

This incident only highlighted Coinbase’s already beleaguered internal and external issues.

The Silk Road creator’s supporters said the statement was only a cover up of Coinbase’s other problems with IRS.

Thanks to the unfreezing of the wallet, Ulbricht’s campaign team can continue funding their campaign to help him receive some semblance of justice.

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The Silk Road Founder Loses His Life Sentence Appeal

Ross Ulbricht is now destined to spend the rest of his life in prison following the sound rejection of his appeal that was meted out the previous week.

The Second Circuit appellate court ruling was firmly delivered to the Silk Road drug kingpin, famously known as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” in a manner that expressed subtle sympathy for the somewhat excessive, yet completely justified conviction of Ulbricht by the lower district 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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Rubber stamping that says 'Appeal'.
A Second Circuit appellate court effectively ended Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s fight for justice, upholding the life sentence initially meted out by the district court.

This marked the end of Ulbricht’s five-year battle to escape his lifetime imprisonment sentence, which was influenced by an investigation marred with vast inconsistencies, according to Ulbricht’s defense.

Unauthorized Searches, Corrupt Investigators

The Silk Road investigation is one that will be remembered not only for its unexpectedly severe ending, but also for a number of inconsistencies which many believe played a hand in the largely unfair ruling.

These sentiments were echoed by the appellate court judges who seemed to concur with the majority opinion that the sentencing was heavier than most courts would have issued.

Ulbricht’s appeal was hinged on two key occurrences that his defense feel could have negatively influenced the outcome of his trial.

The involvement of DEA agent Carl Mark Force and Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges—two corrupt officials who stole from the Silk Road and also attempted to extort its founder—in the investigation forced his defense to file for a mistrial.

The appellate court also received and dismissed claims that the Silk Road investigators had conducted unauthorized surveillance of his home network, through which they managed to collect information from his social media and email accounts.

Ulbricht’s defense also raised the issue of what they termed as “unconstitutional searches,” which led to the seizure of his laptop. To this argument, the three-judge panel responded that the searches had been backed by warrants and were as such legal under the Fourth Amendment.

The appellate court upheld and maintained the life imprisonment sentence, despite the prosecution’s move to appeal to the district court’s emotional side by introducing statements which had little or no direct relevance to the Silk Road founder’s case.

Claims that this could have led to misgivings in the final ruling were shot down by the judge panel, who backed the district court’s ability to make decisions that weren’t afflicted by the wrenching testimony.

The three judges, however, agreed that the Silk Road customers’ deaths did not hold much relevance to the trial.

No Reprieve for the Drug Market Founder

Appeal word on card index paper
This marked the end of Ulbricht’s five-year battle to escape his lifetime imprisonment sentence, which was influenced by an investigation marred with vast inconsistencies, according to Ulbricht’s defense.

In the end, the final ruling of the appellate court terminated all hopes of Ulbricht clawing his way out of life imprisonment without parole. The decision to uphold the district court’s ruling was heavily influenced by the “kingpin” charge, which portrayed Ulbricht as a ruthless administrator who had gone to great lengths to protect the wealth he had amassed through the Silk Road under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts.

They reiterated that there had been overwhelming evidence of this, citing the three attempted murder charges that had weighed profoundly against Ulbricht and ultimately played the biggest part in his sentencing.

According to the court documents, the ruling, although excessive, was completely justifiable. In addition to Ulbricht’s actions, the judges called attention to the volume of sales generated by the drug-fueled marketplace, saying that any prosecution would be justified to seek extreme punishment in such a case.

His sentencing was initially intended to partially serve as a dire warning to other dark web drug kingpins which, in retrospect, worsened the situation drastically.

Subsequent versions of the Silk Road all raked in sales that amounted to more than double of what Ulbricht was arrested for in what was a brash display of impunity by online drug overlords who were now much more alert to the danger of being nabbed by the federal authorities.

The appellate court’s ruling also contained undertones of doubt and subtle sympathy for the extreme sentencing of a young man to spend the rest of his life in prison. The panel admitted that although the sentencing was permissible, they might have considered a less harsh ruling if the case had been presented to them first.

Be it as it may, the writing is finally on the wall: Ross Ulbricht, founder of the trailblazing Silk Road One, will live out the rest of his days in prison.

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