The Day $28 Million In Bitcoins Were Seized From Silk Road

New trends in Technology industry are like daily events, because of the high number and quality of people working in this domain, innovation is almost a routine task – while doing the impossible or unthinkable is a near-future target.

Every now and then, the “regular” population adopts one of the new trends in the business, moving it from a curiosity to a world-changing idea.

In 2008, the most widely-accepted technological breakthrough was the Bitcoin. However, one of the biggest pieces of regarding the Bitcoin connected the currency to Silkroad – a famous online black market.

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

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

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$28 million in bitcoins seized from Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht

After the appearance of the Bitcoin, people have often wondered why a cryptocurrency took so long to appear in our lives.

The idea behind the Bitcoin is simple, it is a transfer of authority and a virtual currency which you can use to pay anything and everything online.

Although the idea went exceptionally well on paper, thereality was a bit slower to react.

Even in 2015, the number of merchants accepting payments in Bitcoins just passed the 100,000 mark – not enough to be called a full-fledged “revolution.”

The U.S. Government and security agencies didn’t give the currency lots of attention at the beginning either, but that all changed in 2011 when they targeted the above-mentioned Silkroad.

Since the currency was more-or-less completely anonymous and impossible to track, it quickly became the preferred way to pay for certain goods or services which were illicit.

This paired exceptionally well with the now-defunct website, the Silkroad.

It was owned by an individual called Ross William Ulbricht, which was a standard online marketplace – except for the fact that the goods that were traded in Silkroad were highly illicit.

Silkroad made a small fortune functioning as an online black market for drugs – but Ross Ulbricht quickly caught the attention of the authorities.

The founder of Silkroad was arrested in October 2013 and was charged with several accusations – ranging from drug trafficking to money laundering conspiracies.

Basically, he was charged to have conspired with every illicit dealing that took place on the Silkroad.

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The Bitcoin in connection with the Silkroad, a famous online black market performed a record-breaking bust of more than $28 million.

The FBI took the entire scene one step further, and at the end of that month, made its biggest Bitcoin confiscation in history, from various members of the Silkroad.

The FBI seized just over 144,000 Bitcoins, an amount equivalent to roughly $28 million.

Along with this operation, the U.S. authorities also shut down Silkroad and sentenced Ross Ulbricht to no less than life in jail.

The size of the undertaking was the impressive part of the story, along with bringing the Silkroad to nationwide public’s attention.

It’s not an everyday occurrence you see a government take hold of $30 million in Bitcoins, especially for online transactions involving websites like Silkroad.

The size of the action also showed the world the downsides of having a currency such as the Bitcoin: having it used to its fullest for wrongdoings.

Since Bitcoin transactions are hard to track, especially when using anonymity tools like Tor, they are the perfect method of committing online frauds or crimes.

While Silkroad was closed, there is no exact quantity of how many of these websites functions in the U.S. alone, not to mention worldwide, where information security isn’t treated as seriously as in the United States.

Ross Ulbricht’s trial was relatively short and easy. His only defense was that while he had indeed found Silkroad, he gave up its administration to other people – a fact which was quickly proven false by prosecutors.

He was quickly sentenced to life in prison and was turned into one of the most famous examples of 21st-century criminals.

Silkroad was quickly shut down after his conviction, proving that he was indeed one of the main players on the website.

Smart, using technology to his advantage and always on top of his game, Ross Ulbricht has been a great example of what can happen when crimes update themselves to get in line with 21st-century technology.

To sum up, the 28th of October will be remembered as the day in which the largest-ever Bitcoin confiscation was made.

This confiscation marked the end of the Silkroad and a lifetime conviction of its owner, founder, and administrator, Ross Ulbricht.

Privacy and power are great additions to everyday life for normal people, but if they fall into the wrong hands, we all know what they’re capable of.

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The Dark Web And The Man Behind The Silk Road

The internet is limitless. Search engines like Google are resourceful; they only have access based on the most extensive online world.

The dark web typically comprises a huge network of non-indexed websites which require specific software or a special set of configurations to access.

In comparison to the deep web—the part of the internet that although hidden from search results, can be accessed using passwords and other forms of authorization—it offers a certain level of anonymity even from the law enforcement.

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

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

As such, the dark web is fueled by the activities of the illegal variety. It is an infamous criminal hub since online activity on the dark web is somewhat untraceable and provides a much-needed mask around people involved in illegitimate trade among other illegal activities.

Created By: US Military Researchers

 

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Meet The Dread Pirate Roberts, The Man Behind Booming Black Market Drug Website Silk Road

The darkweb was created in the 90s by the United States government as a hidden network within which their spies could exchange information anonymously.

 

The government and military researchers birthed The Onion Router, famously known as TOR, and made it available to the public as a way of enhancing their spies’ anonymity by making it harder for them to investigate through thousands of interactions.

The term “Onion Router” was coined because the router used the onion routing technique where websites are buried under layers of concealing data, effectively making them anonymous.

Currently, TOR is hosting an estimated 30,000 hidden websites, most of which are on the .onion domain.

“The Dark Web is Like a Forest” – Daniel Prince

In an effort to clearly explain the workings of the dark web, the Lancaster University Associate Director Security, Daniel Prince, gave a simple illustration on how it operates on the popular website.

He linked the internet to a gigantic forest where the only way to get from one point to another is through designated paths, which he referred to as search engines like Google.

Other than the paths, there was no way to navigate the forest unless directed where to look. This is the principle that is built upon and which allows activities and identities to stay well hidden, he said.

Not surprisingly, the anonymity factor proves to be very appealing to the criminal’s minds, who have crowded the hidden network to conduct their various illegal deeds.

Although the dark web is primarily considered to be a criminal hub, it is a useful resource for journalists and activists who wish to relay sensitive information away from prying eyes.

List of Criminal Activities

dark-web-crime
Weapons and drugs trade to the growing child pornography ring, we take a comprehensive look into the mysterious side of the internet.

According to a study conducted by the University of Portsmouth in 2014, child pornography takes the lead as the most wanted content on the dark web and is closely followed by the illegal trade of weapons, drugs and stolen personal information.

Other unlawful activities that are conducted under the cover of anonymity include hacking, fraud, and abuse.

Law Enforcement Have Made Several Busts

As much as TOR is considered inaccessible, it has been the subject of more than a few raids by law enforcement agencies and numerous arrests have been made in connection with the criminal activities conducted.

Governments have begun dedicating more resources towards breaching the anonymous network, typically using malware and viruses that compromise users and relay their information to their servers.

In one notable case, the UK government’s efforts to eliminate child pornography resulted in the capture of the most wanted pedophile in Britain, Richard Huckle.

They achieved this after secretly capturing a child abuse website. The perpetrator was served 22 life sentences for 71 child sex offenses.

Another online bust dubbed “Operation Onymous” resulted in the arrest of 17 people and the takeover of hundreds of pounds in bitcoin. Of all the arrests, however, only one person was successfully taken into custody.

The Take Down of The Silk Road

Ross Ulbricht is undoubtedly one of the most high-profile arrests made in the history of the dark web.

The alleged creator of the multi-million dollar drug-fueled dark web market, the Silk Road, was arrested in a bust that was so massive, it led to the collapse of the website in its totality.

At the time, the Silk Road market was worth an estimated $34.5 million and had a customer base of over one million users.

Services that could be obtained on the Silk Road included fake identification cards and passports, purchase of drugs and weapons and hacking services.

There was even an elaborate system to rate and review the services to make it easier for new customers of the Silk Road.

Ross Ulbricht’s arrest did not necessarily mean the end of the Silk Road market as it has since spawned three other successors, two of which have also failed tragically.

Ross Ulbricht is currently serving his life sentence in a New York prison for charges including money laundering, drug trafficking, and attempted murder.

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Appeals Court Weighs Arguments in Silk Road Case

Prosecutors on the Silkroad case where 32-year-old Ross William Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison were questioned on the fairness of the judgment in a Manhattan federal appeals court on October 6.

Ulbricht was convicted for being the brains behind the dark web site Silkroad, which was best known for facilitating the sale of illicit drugs.

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

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

In the oral arguments presided by three US Second Circuit Court of Appeals judges, numerous questions were posed concerning the even-handedness of the ruling, which was doled out by US District Judge Katherine Forrest in 2015.

Emotional Impact

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Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison

One of the members of the three-judge panel presiding over the oral arguments, Judge Christopher Droney, openly challenged the sentencing as he pointed out that it was bizarre for a middle-aged man with no prior criminal records and no direct ties to any drug trafficking activities to get slapped with such a hefty sentence.

His colleague, Jude Gerard Lynch suspected that testimonies from the parents of two Silkroad buyers who died from overdosing at the 2015 trial could have had a heavy emotional impact on the case and might have influenced the over-the-top sentencing.

According to Lynch, the testimonies in the 2015 trial of the Silkroad creator put an extraordinary thumb on the scales against Ulbricht. The judge added on to call the sentence “quite a leap.”

Promising Innovator with Misplaced Priorities

The 32-year-old Californian resident was arrested following the seizure of the dark web drug market by the authorities.In its 2-year operation, Silkroad had made over $200 million in sales using the encrypted digital currency, bitcoin.

In its 2-year operation, Silkroad had made over $200 million in sales using the encrypted digital currency, bitcoin.

Ross Ulbricht was accused of masterminding the Silkroad operation from which he amassed $18 million.

Supporters of the Silkroad mastermind painted Ulbricht as a young, insightful innovator who had been led astray by his youth.

His defense lawyer Josh Dratel called on the three-judge panel to view the extreme ruling for what it really was.

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Dratel painted Ulbricht

He called the life sentencing of the Silkroad mastermind unreasonable basing his remark on the fact that even murderers got a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Dratel went on to paint Ulbricht as the landlord of Silkroad who had no direct links to the activities that took place therein.

“No Ordinary Kingpin” – Prosecutor Eun Young Choi

Ross Ulbricht had been accused of hiring alleged assassins to get rid of enemies that threatened the continuity of Silkroad.

The three-judge panel saw this as more than just passive involvement and part of the reason why Ulbricht was tried as more than just the “landlord” of Silkroad.

Although none of the assassinations were carried out, prosecutor Eun Young Choi considered this a threat of violence that would have landed Ulbricht for life in prison even without the overdose deaths.

The prosecutor termed it unprecedented and went ahead to paint the Silkroad mastermind as an unusual kingpin.

Convicted Investigators

Ulbricht’s defense has also been trying to use the case of two federal agents who were convicted of bitcoin theft during the Silkroad investigation, as a pivot to overturn his conviction.

As things stand, there are no clear indications of when will be the judges’ ruling.

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Silk Road on American Greed TV Show

Recently, the popular CNBC TV show American Greed did a feature on Silkroad, the controversial digital drug dealing darknet market platform conceived and owned by Ross Ulbricht.

The American Greed episode was entirely focused on Ulbricht’s supposed pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts” and the operations of the illegal online utopia.

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

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

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Silk Road On The TV Screen With American Greed

While a number of the references have been positive, the large majority have always painted a very negative picture of these platforms even though they are not always involved in illegal activity.

The Silkroad, however, cannot be given the benefit of the doubt. It is well known to have been complacent in criminal activity with Ross Ulbricht currently facing life in prison.

American Greed’s Verdict on Silkroad

The American Greed show can be complimented for taking a somewhat different and unscripted direction in its exposé’s.

It highlights key events or operations through the accounts of witnesses and expert opinions.

This approach enables the show to document current and past events that shed light on the dark sides of American capitalism including Silkroad that corporate media fails to cover.

According to the show, Silkroad was founded mainly to provide a secure and anonymous means for sellers and buyers to transact illegal goods and services online through the Tor network.

The Silkroad marketplace operated only through Bitcoins, the cryptocurrency that facilitates anonymous online trade in darknet markets.

Dread Pirate Roberts controlled nearly every aspect of the Silkroad marketplace.

Apparently, he acquired the computer infrastructure needed to set up the marketplace, maintained the official website and also set customer and vendor policies. Some of these policies included what could be sold on the Silkroad.

Ross Ulbricht was arrested in October 2013 by the FBI where he was accused of being Dread Pirate Roberts. The Silkroad website was then seized and taken down.

At the time, Dread Pirate Robert’s wealth was estimated to be millions of dollars in bitcoins.

Ulbricht is now facing a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He was found guilty on several counts including conspiracy to distribute narcotics, conspiracy to commit computer hacking, and money laundering.

Points of Contention

american-greed
American Greed unveils incredible true cases of crime and the lust for power…stories of people who do anything for money.

While Silkroad is definitely villainous from the law’s perspective, it does not exactly fit the profile of American Greed’s show.

The show usually focuses on the aspects of people or entities stealing money, something that DPR is not guilty of.

In fact, the instances of theft related to this case occurred against Silkroad itself, something the show failed to dwell on but should have.

It could be because of the fact that Carl Force, the person responsible for siphoning bitcoins from the Silkroad marketplace happens to be a former DEA agent.

Nonetheless, it was an informative alternative account and is bound to generate interesting comments in days to come.

It is definitely recommendable to any open-minded person seeking to know more about this underground online crime platform.

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Silk Road’s Creator Legal Defense Filed A New Reply Brief

ross ulbrichtThe Silkroad is back, making headlines once again, with the defense team of Ross Ulbricht filing a reply brief in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals as part of the appeal filed in January this year.

The reply brief filed questions whether the trial which led to the Silkroad founder’s conviction was fair enough in any manner whatsoever.

Defense counsel Joshua Dratel’s latest reply in response to the brief filed in June by the prosecution states that his client’s conviction does not hold ground as the Silkroad investigation was carried out with the help of a couple of corrupt officials.

In addition, the reply brief refers to a number of abuses by the court that can be considered as discretionary authority.

According to Dratel, this resulted in the gross violation of the Silkroad founder’s rights.

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

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

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

Ross-William-UlbrichtThe creator of Silkroad, Ross Ulbricht, who operated the website under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts, was apprehended and convicted of operating an online marketplace for drugs, weapons, and several other illegal goods.

Currently, he is in prison, serving a life sentence without parole for operating the Silkroad marketplace.

In addition to requesting the court to vacate all of the convictions against the founder of Silkroad, the reply brief calls for a re-sentencing or conducting a retrial before another district judge.

In the introductory note of the new reply brief submitted on behalf of the defendant and Silkroad founder Ross Ulbricht, it is mentioned that a point-by-point rebuttal of the government’s brief is not required as they either cover undisputed territory (those that deal with basic legal principles), or present sufficiently anticipated arguments that have already been addressed in the initial brief filed by the defense team.

The new reply filing, therefore, focuses on bringing out the weaknesses in the responses of the government by citing specific examples and highlighting critical issues that have not been addressed at all.

Soon after Ulbricht was convicted, Carl Force and Shaun Bridges, the law enforcement officers associated with the investigation of Silkroad, pleaded guilty of committing certain crimes when carrying out their part of the investigation.

Carl Force of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Shaun Bridges from the U.S. Secret Service pleaded guilty to charges of theft, extortion, and misappropriation of bitcoins belonging to Ulbricht and Silkroad leveled against them.

In the new reply brief filed by the defense counsel Dratel, the argument put forward by him is that the two law enforcement officers had played a significant role in investigating the case which resulted in the arrest, conviction, and sentencing of the Silkroad founder.

He also points to the fact that the government suppressed information about the criminal investigation that was being carried out during the course of Ulbricht’s trial.

In addition, the defense counsel says that the information released, collected or discovered since the filing of the initial brief by Ulbricht vitiates any of the government’s arguments about separating the participation of Force and Bridges in the Silkroad investigation.

Further, Dratel says that Katherine Forrest, the judge who presided over the Silkroad and Ulbricht’s trial, illegitimately prevented him from cross-examining some of the witnesses concerning certain technical aspects and disallowed him from presenting two of the defense witnesses.

Apart from the points raised as regards to the shortcomings on the part of Judge Forrest and the government, defense counsel Dratel notes in the brief that the government violated the Silkroad founder’s Fourth Amendment right.

According to him, the government issued unlawful warrants for searching and seizing belongings and data of Ross Ulbricht without mentioning any kind of evidence against him at that point in time.

According to Dratel, as far as the warrants were concerned, there was a lack of Particularity In Application as well as Execution and the Pen Register and the Trap and Trace Orders were not lawful because they cannot be executed without a warrant.

Also, they failed to stick to statutory limitations.

The nature of the sentence given to Ross Ulbricht by Judge Katherine Forrest, among other things, has also been contested by the defense counsel.

He has expressed his opinion that the justification of life sentence without parole that was awarded to Ulbricht refers to different drug overdose deaths that are not in any way related to the Silkroad case at all.

In addition, he points out that the judgment that was handed down to Ross takes into account certain factors for which he was never even charged with.

After the defense team for Silkroad founder Ross Ulbricht launched its appeal for initiating a new trial in January, the last hope for the Silkroad creator to escape a life sentence, the prosecution responded by rebutting each and every argument raised by the defense counsel.

The brief filed by the prosecution was just a rehash of the Silkroad founder’s trial early last year.

The brief also questioned Judge Katherine Forrest’s decisions in favor of the prosecution, which included suppression of defense evidence, admission of prosecution evidence and denial of defense witnesses.

This prompted Ulbricht’s attorneys to call for a mistrial at least five times.

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Curtis Green Is Back With His “Silk Road Memoir”

Curtis Green, also known as “chronicpain” in the dark web was an administrator of the black marketplace, Silk Road. He was in the news earlier as being the one that the website founder Ross Ulbricht was accused of attempting to murder. Well, he is back in the news once again and this time round, it is for his book. Green was arrested in 2013 with $27,000. In the months following Curtis’ arrest, the police had tightened the noose around the website and its owner as he had decided to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies and turned on Ross and the website during the progress of the case. Ross Ulbricht has purportedly paid $80,000 to have Green killed.

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

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

Curtis Green – The Background

ross ulbrichtRoss Ulbricht founded the darknet drug marketplace Silk Road in 2011. It soon grew into a billion dollar business. The Silk Road was pulled down in 2013 by the law enforcement agencies, and Ross Ulbricht was arrested on charges of money laundering, hacking, identity fraud, and drug trafficking. He was convicted in 2015, and his lawyers are currently looking to file a second appeal for a retrial of the case.

According to the law enforcement agencies, Ross believed that Curtis Green, an employee of Silk Road, had stolen money from the website. Ulbricht purportedly wanted Green killed and ordered a hit. However, Carl Mark Force, a law enforcement agent that worked closely with Green masqueraded as the hitman. He pretended to kill Curtis and even sent staged photos of the hit. It was later known that Agent Force himself was stealing money from the website. Curtis Green had, in fact, taught the agents how to use Bitcoins, the digital currency that was accepted by the website.

Force and another agent Shaun Bridges were convicted last year on charges of blackmail and theft. The defense argued that it was not Ross Ulbricht, but someone else operating under the name of “Dread Pirate Roberts” who ordered Curtis’ murder.

Curtis Green – The Book of Memoirs

Curtis GreenCurtis Green is now writing a book with all the happenings at the Silk Road website that culminated in his arrest. Curtis is currently looking for a different kind of cover art for his book. Curtis Green’s book is not the first one on the topic, though. There are already many works published about the website including a book called Silk Road by Eileen Ormsby, a documentary by the name of Deep Web, and a full-length feature film among others.

Curtis Green did not serve any time for a felony in prison and was served only with a light sentence because he turned against the website and Ross and cooperated with the law enforcement agencies. He has also been working closely with journalists and writers as well as 20th Century Fox during the trial of Ross Ulbricht.

The book by Curtis Green is named Silk Road Memoir: A Story of Crime, Greed, and Murder will be released in the near future, and a Hollywood movie on the topic is also scheduled to be released soon.

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Re-Trial for Ross Ulbricht Not Looking Good

Silkroad founder, Ross Ulbricht, has been in prison since May 2015 after he was given a double life sentence without the possibility of parole. Ulbricht was charged on many counts, such as money laundering, conspiracy to sell drugs, and for creating and running Silkroad – a dark web site that enables its users to sell and buy drugs. While administrating the Silkroad website, Ulbricht used “Dread Pirate Roberts” as his pseudonym.

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

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

images (2)A year on, Ulbricht, his mother Lyn, and his defense team are working on an appeal for a re-trial. Lyn Ulbricht filed an appeal for a re-trial of the case in what she and the defense team believes that the double life sentence given to her son was unjust. The 170-page argument that the defense team presented is Ulbricht’s final hope of escaping a double life sentence that he is now serving at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, NY. They filed the appeal on January 12, this year, and a reply was received from the government on June 17.
Their most important refutation concerns the argument over the role of the two corrupt agents who ended up using their roles in the Silkroad investigation to steal and extort money from Ross Ulbricht, and whose participation was kept undisclosed from the jury, and to some degree even from Silkroad founder defense team during his trial.

ross-ulbrichtUlbricht’s defense argues that the evidence revealing the corrupt federal agents had unfettered, high-level admin access to Silkroad; and the power to remove, add, and change material to the website; as well as pocket over a million US dollars, was covered up, and the jury was not allowed to know it.

Not only was the evidence tainted, but was kept unknown until after the trial was over. Silkroad founder defense team argues that the action is against the law and a direct violation of the “Brady Rule.” This is one of the major issues it has addressed in the appeal, but there are several weighty challenges to the Silkroad investigation and trial.

But, his re-trial doesn’t look as though it is going to be good as the prosecution team has now hit back with its own, equally large document refuting each and every one of those arguments.

In its 186-page document presented on the evening of June 17, the prosecution rehashed much of Ross’ 11-day trial in 2015 and defended repeated decisions by District Court Judge Katherine Forrest in its favor – a series of moves to deny defense witnesses, clamp down on defense evidence, and admit its evidence that led his lawyers to call for a mistrial not less than five instances.

Initial efforts by Ulbricht’s lawyers to take the case to court were earlier on thwarted by Judge Katherine Forrest in March. In her memo back then, Judge Forrest shot down a series of arguments presented by Ulbricht’s defense team including the corruption charges that were slapped on former Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges and former DEA agent Carl Mark Force.

The two allegedly blackmailed Ulbricht and ended up extorting thousands of dollars from Silkroad. The defense team also pointed out that the period allocated to them for reviewing the evidence was not sufficient. The defense also cited unfair, denying Fifth Amendment rights for their client during the Silkroad hearing.

However, the argument by the defense that it was completely kept in the dark regarding Carl Mark Force’s misbehavior till the trial was concluded, and was not also told about the role that Shaun Bridges played doesn’t look good for Ross Ulbricht’s re-trial. In its latest hit-back, the prosecution argues that any disclosure it should have made as regards Silkroad investigation is irrelevant because Bridges’ and Force’s behavior had nothing to do with challenging Silkroad founder’s guilt.

They continue to argue that his appeal based on the corruption of the two federal agents doesn’t add up for the simple reason that, be that as it may, Ulbricht hasn’t explained how the information he pursued to admit or compel was exculpatory. Nowhere does Ross Ulbricht explain how Shaun Bridges and Carl Mark Force’s Silkroad crimes impeach the prosecution’s “overwhelming” evidence.

The 186-page prosecution document includes a laundry list of very compelling evidence against the Silkroad founder that it argues has no any relation to the two corrupt federal agents. That critical proof includes records of transactions on a bitcoin public ledger referred to as the “blockchain” that traces $18 million bitcoins sent from the Silkroad servers to his laptop, a journal and logbook found on that laptop, and FBI agents catching Ross Ulbricht red-handed in a library in San Francisco, logged into Silkroad as its administrator, even gaining access to a so-called “mastermind” page. Ulbricht’s defense team has so far declined to comment on the rebuttal by the prosecution.

And even though Ulbricht’s defense lawyers have argued that Force or Bridge used their illegal access to Silkroad to tamper somehow with its account or even plant evidence on the laptop, the prosecution has responded by stating that the Silkroad staff account that was hijacked from an informant by Shaun Bridges did not actually have the “root” access crucial for that sort of tampering.

It also goes on to argue that the defense knew about the crimes that Force committed on Silkroad to the extent that if it had suspected some evidence-planting on Ross Ulbricht’s laptop, it ought to have tried to demonstrate foul play during the trial.

In fact, Ross Ulbricht’s defense lawyers did make arguments that evidence-planting could have been possible on his laptop through a BitTorrent connection, but the prosecution appeared to proof that bogus to the jury. Prosecutor Serrin Turner has stated that there was nothing that was planted on Ulbricht’s laptop to affect the Silkroad case.

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Silk Road Creator’s Mom Has Lost Faith In The US Justice System

Ross Ulbricht,the founder of the Silk Road, is in prison serving a double life sentence without parole since May 29, 2015. He was charged on many counts, including conspiracy to sell drugs, money laundering, etc. He worked under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts” as the administrator of the website.

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

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

The Silk Road – Appeal for Retrial by Lyn

Lyn UlbrichtLyn Ulbricht, mother of Ross, in the meanwhile, has been working to file an appeal for a retrial of the case as she believes that the life sentence that was awarded to her son has been unjust. The appeal was filed on 12 January this year, and the government has to reply before 17 June this year.

Lyn said that she has lost faith in the US legal system and hoped that a retrial would take place soon. In this context, it is interesting to note that two government agents, Shaun Bridges and Carl Force, who were part of this case, were indicted on charges of corruption, theft of bitcoins and extortion.

Lyn Ulbricht said that the two agents had access to the highest administrative levels of the Silk Road, and they committed the crimes by changing, adding and removing data to the site. A lot of this tainted information was suppressed during the trial which Lyn claims is unlawful and goes against the Brady Rule. Some of the information was let out only after the trial, according to Lyn. This is the point bywhich she is demanding a retrial of the case against the Silk Road administrator. She believes that the basis for the retrial and its outcome would be of benefit to all Americans and would help to repose her faith on the American legal system.

Such a sentence was awarded to Ross, according to the concerned judges, only because he set an unhealthy precedent. He showed how the Internet can be used at its worst, they said. Lyn, however, felt that the sentence was unfair as the biggest drug dealer on the website was awarded a mere sentence of 10 years, and a cocaine-heroin dealer was awarded a 5-year prison term. The tainted agents received six- and seven-year terms.

Lyn’s Thoughts

Ross-UlbrichtThe Silk Road founder, Ross Ulbricht, has spent a year in prison now and his mother Lyn believes he becomes matured in the periodand is not as naive as when he started the website. She hopes that a retrial would allow her son to return to the society with a mind that has turned wiser and older. Her son was a person of libertarian thoughts who only wanted to offer people the experience of free markets, in every sense of the word. He had lectured on free markets before he was convicted and it was all that he wanted. On the day of his sentencing, Ross Ulbricht even said that he did not mean any harm to anyone by running the Silk Road.

Lyn believes that her fight for the retrial would contribute towards the protection of constitutional, freedom and privacy rights of all the Americans.

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Silk Road Mastermind In His Prison Cell

ross-ulbrichtRoss Ulbricht, the creator of Silk Road, was sentenced to a life in prison in the end of May 2015 on count of seven different charges. Judge Katherine Forrest handed over multiple sentences: for 5 years, 15 years, 20 years and two for life. As the charges have to be served for concurrently, Ross has to serve a lifetime in prison without any parole.

However, the convicted Silk Road head has launched an appeal to have his case heard once more. According to the US Court of Appeals (Second Circuit) in which a filing has been lodged, Ross Ulbricht’s team of lawyers’ argument was that a fair trial was not provided to him, key evidence was left out and that Ross was not the actual person who played the Dread Pirate Roberts’ role. Silk Road was an online darknet market that sold everything from drugs to stolen identities and counterfeit documents.

The Silk Road Conviction and After

Ross Ulbricht is housed in the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center and just turned 32 years old on March 27. His parents have moved to a small apartment (from Texas) nearby. It has not been an easy time for the rest of Ulbricht’s family. The situation has been grim with Ross’s mother, Lyn, suffering from health complications due to the stress that she is going through. She suffered a heart attack and is coping with a broken heart. The parents’ lives have been drained both financially and emotionally.

According to an article by Patrick Howell O’Neill, who tracked the everyday life of Ross Ulbricht, the Silk Road kingpin seems to be settling for a life in the prison. He spruced up his life by planting an apple seed in a corner of his room where there was sunlight. However, the sapling was uprooted and placed in the counselor’s office. He has started growing another one it seems. Ross’s mother believes that the life in prison is turning her son into a more humane individual. The Silk Road head is also into bringing up a mouse as a pet in a cardboard box, the prison cell has many of them running around. However, no guard has snatched it off as yet.

Ross does not speak to the media. He spends his day teaching GED to some of the inmates of the prison. He also teaches them physics. Ross is often shifted to other prisons at short or no notice and the task of tracking him down to meet him on their next visit is left to his family.

Screen-Shot-2013-10-02-at-8.33.10-PM1Ross’s mother, in the meanwhile, has been travelling to different libertarian gatherings and garnering support as well as funding for the Silk Road kingpin’s appeal. She speaks out on topics ranging from fair trials, sentencing laws, and Internet privacy laws, to criminal justice procedures. She believes that her son has been imprisoned because he was a political threat. This has been echoed by other alliances and groups such as Drug Policy Alliance and Electronic Frontier Foundation among others.

The US Government however believes otherwise. Contending that Silk Road darknet market sold drugs worth $80 million to its customers, the government believes that the Silk Road founder is responsible for the drug overdose deaths of six other individuals. Ulbricht’s sentence brought to the fore the fact that he was just another drug dealer and racketeer who sought to hide his identity from the authorities and no one is above the law. In this context, it is also interesting to note that many of the alleged nefarious crimes against Ross were never proved in court. Many observers also feel that the sentence has been a heavy one and issued too quickly with basic lack of understanding. As for now, the Silk Road founder would have to spend his days in prison while his family has raised about $433,000 for his legal defense.

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Drug Reform Groups Want To Overturn Silk Road Creator’s Sentence

Two of the leading non-profits in the US that are dedicated to bringing in reform to drug laws said recently that the sentencing of life imprisonment without parole imposed on the founder of Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, should be withdrawn. Further, they also said that Ulbricht should be re-sentenced by remanding him to another judge.

Ross-Ulbricht

Last year, Ulbricht was convicted for charges which include conspiracy to drug-trafficking, money laundering and computer hacking. Ulbricht admitted to creating the darknet marketplace, Silk Road. However, his lawyer said that he handed it over to others later. The Silk Road founder is appealing his conviction as well as sentencing.

Last week, in an amicus brief that was filed, the lawyers for Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) wrote that life sentences are imposed exceedingly rarely under the federal criminal justice system, especially in the case of individuals like Ulbricht who do not have any prior criminal record. They also noted that this is specifically true in the case of people convicted of offenses related to drugs, which includes drug trafficking as well. Further, the lawyers have argued that life sentence was imposed in only 3 percent of all cases of drug trafficking. Typically, it is reserved for those that commit violent crimes.

In the US, more than ninety percent of the life sentence cases involve sexual assault, murder, aggravated assault, rape, kidnapping, or robbery. According to Bureau of Drug Statistics, individuals are sentenced for 6.3 years or 75.5 months for drug conviction. The sentencing imposed by state prisons, on average, is five years.

The brief was also signed by a former federal judge and LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition). According to the brief, the appeals court should overturn the sentence imposed on Ulbricht for two reasons: one is that it violates Eighth Amendment (it prohibits unusual and cruel punishment) and the other is that it “shocks the conscience.”

The amicus brief, which focuses solely on harsh treatment imposed on Ulbricht, does not have any problem with his conviction. Additionally, it points out that the six drug overdose deaths, which have been tied to the Silk Road case by government, have been wrongly considered by the US District Judge Katherine Forrest. In fact, the overdose cases have only a superficially plausible connection with the Silk Road, according to the amici.

According to the DPA lawyers, the causes of overdose are complex. They also argue that it is a better idea to specify limits for opioid prescriptions and expand access to naloxone (anti-overdose drug) and substance abuse treatment instead of imposing severe punishment on the Silk Road founder. Further, they point out that sentencing Ulbricht, keeping in mind drug overdose deaths, amounts to violation of process rights due to him.

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Additionally, the brief objects to the consideration of the allegation of murder for hire against Ross Ulbricht by Judge Forrest (a jury has not evaluated the allegations). Finally, the groups also object to the reason – prevent creation of darknet marketplaces by future criminals – given by Forrest for sentencing Ulbricht to a life-term in jail. They also argue that long sentences do not have any deterrence value and that the last 40 years of war on drugs has clearly demonstrated the same.

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