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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Defense Suggests There’s Another Corrupt Agent In The Silk Road Case

There has been new evidence unearthed with regard to the Silk Road case. The online black market was actually the first darknet market in these modern times. The platform was utilized by hundreds of drug dealers and clients of these illicit narcotics.

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 Ulbricht's Lawyers Say They've Found Another Corrupt Agent in Silk Road Case
Ross Ulbricht’s Lawyers Say They’ve Found Another Corrupt Agent in Silk Road Case

However, in October 2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigations arrested the man behind the site operation, one Ross William Ulbricht, known under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

During his trial, Ross admitted to having founded the Silk Road marketplace, which the FBI shut down, but he claimed to have given control to other people shortly after he founded it.

Further, Ross’s lawyers argued that “Dead Pirate Roberts” wasn’t the accused, but Mark Karpelès. They contended that Ross was just a fall guy.

In February 2015, the jury convicted Ross Ulbricht of seven charges. They included money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and computer hacking.

The Silk Road creator was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on May 2015.

Two other rogue agents of law enforcement were also arrested, former DEA agent Carl Mark Force and Secret Service agent Shawn Bridges.

The two worked as undercover agents in the Baltimore Silk Road investigation.

The agents were accused to have accepted funds from Ross in exchange of information on the investigation.

Third Corrupt Agent in the Silk Road Case

Ulbricht’s defense team unearthed new evidence and found sign of a third corrupt agent in the Silk Road case.
Ulbricht’s defense team unearthed new evidence and found signs of a third corrupt agent in the Silk Road case.

Recently, Ulbricht’s lawyers revealed that they had unearthed new evidence. They said, they found signs of a third corrupt agent involved to the drug money in Silk Road and that this suspect is still at large.

The defense lawyers said that they got hold of the site’s user forum of a private chat logs that shed light on a mysterious figure referred by the pseudonym “albertpacino,” “alpacino,” or “notwonderful.”

In the conversations with Dread Pirate Roberts, the pseudonym that Ross used on the site, Alpacino offered to give information about the law enforcement investigations on the Silk Road in exchange for weekly payments.

The reason why these chat logs did not appear in the earlier pieces of evidence shared with the defense and prosecution was because, according to the lawyers, someone in law enforcement tampered with the evidence to cover up the conversations.

The chats were found in a backed up obscure directory on the site’s server, which probably the person who tried to delete them, never knew existed.

This new turn of events, according to the defense, calls into question the credibility of the Silk Road investigation by the prosecution.

Until now, Alpacino was believed to have been a pseudonym that the already convicted agent Carl Mark Force used.

The reason why the defense contends that Alpacino was not actually agent Carl was the fact that in the conversations, Alpacino demanded for $500 a week, which was quite small amount compared to the $50,000 that agent Force was allegedly paid by Ross.

Ulbricht’s lawyers have requested the government for any other additional information that they might have on this Alpacino user.

The entire Silk Road investigation is put into question once again. There is only so much evidence that might be willingly ignored before justice can prevail.

These private chat logs that recently discovered are a possible indication that the law enforcement agencies have a mole, although no one really can pinpoint as to who it is.

Furthermore, if it is possible that the evidence has been tampered with, Ross’s defense lawyers question as to what else has been falsified or forged in the whole Silk Road investigation.

The defense lawyers, even with this new piece of evidence, likely to be presented in the appeal trial in New York, raise doubts in the eyes of the public as to whether it will alter Ross’s fate.

It is questionable as to whether proving the existence of yet another corrupt agent would actually improve the chances of Ross Ulbricht not getting a life sentence.

The defense continues to attempt to overturn the conviction of Ross with this new piece of evidence than previously believed might help his case.

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Grand Jury Subpoena Issued To Identify Site’s Visitors

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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Judge Katherine ForrestThe Department of Justice just issued a subpoena to asking the site to reveal the identity of six visitors who “threatened” the Silk Road judge, Katherine Forrest. The comments called for violence against the Silk Road judge following her ruling that Ross Ulbricht should spend the rest of his life in prison. is a libertarian site, and the six targeted users disagreed with Silk Road judge’s ruling, generally claiming that such judges should be “taken out back and shot”.

It is not clear whether the trollish comments should be taken as serious threats to the judge or as jokes, but the law enforcement, apparently, is not taking any chances. The comments have since been deleted from the site, where they were posted in connection to the story on Ulbricht’s sentencing with a generally unfavorable view on the way the judge handed out the sentence in the Silk Road case. In the subpoena, has been asked to provide information about the six users, including IP addresses, account information, email addresses, phone numbers, billing information, and devices associated with them. The justification for the subpoena, as far as the law enforcers are concerned, is that the US criminal code forbids “mailing of threatening communications”. The felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Obviously, such moves by the law enforcement leave the average Internet user quite exposed to government action for any information posted online. The form of self-censorship this introduces also limits freedom of speech under the First Amendment, whereby only “true threats” are exempted. The “threats” on the Silk Road judge clearly do not fall under this category. The comments posted on with regard to the Silk Road case are nothing out of the ordinary, and there is no reason to believe that the hearer would take them seriously, which is what would make them “true threats” and not just overzealous or reckless statements undeserving of criminal investigation.

Clearly, the issuance of the subpoena based on these comments on the Silk Road ruling is an indication that law enforcers are willing to track you down for just about anything, constitutional justification notwithstanding. The only solution is to protect yourself using a VPN, and then using anonymous names. A VPN can be used to encrypt communications when using the Internet. Therefore, when you post comments that law enforcers might decide to pursue you for, you would be completely protected and have nothing to worry about. If the six users being pursued for their hyperbolic expression of their dissatisfaction with Silk Road judge’s ruling had used VPNs as well as anonymous names, they would have nothing to worry about with regard to the subpoena.

Reason.comThe subpoena demands their IP addresses, names and other identifying information, which an unprotected site visitor would have submitted to as they posted their comments. For instance, a VPN changes your IP address so that you seem like you are in a different country to anyone trying to track you down. Therefore, anybody would not be able to track you down because the information they obtain about your online communications would lead them to a false location.

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The Baltimore Silk Road Task Force

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 <<

Silk Road SeizedIt’s now emerging that there has been corruption at the investigative task force of Baltimore charged with handling the Silk Road. Though there have allegations on credibility of officers involved in this case, it’s only recently that credible evidence has surfaced to back up these reports. Two former federal agents overseeing the case were not actually working towards arresting the culprits, but rather abusing law enforcement privileges by colluding with some of the suspects at a fee.

The complainant is charging them with different crimes including money laundering, wire fraud, stealing of government property, and conflict of interest. The Silk Road Task Force of Baltimore was established to run parallel to the main probing team, with an aim of establishing other direct and covert communication lines with DPR.

These two feds are accused of widespread misconduct, calculated corruption and abuse of office. Even the manner in which the “pretend hit” that led to Ulbricht’s arrest was done has been questioned, of course taking into consideration that these corrupt agents were in the frontline of it all.

Something that has been called as a calculated and concerted case of corruption, rather than “opportunism” as most member of the public are meant to believe. The officials were laundering money using accounts set up in far-flung areas such as Panama, all in a bid to escape prying eyes from local anti-fraud authorities. But their days were numbered and they have now been cornered, each one of them is facing serious crimes charges that could eventually lead to imprisonment.

BitcoinThey made away with an estimated $1 million worth of bitcoin currency and hard cash through their fake wire transfers. But one of the former agents, Carl Force, was not wise enough and went on a huge spending spree. Immediately after the heist, he paid his home mortgage in full, repaid a government loan, invested in real estate and opened E-Trade accounts all within a short duration of time. People around him started to grow suspicious about where he got all the money from, they reported the matter to anti-corruption authorities who launched further investigations. The fraudulent DEA’s bank account was traced and found to be holding huge sums of unexplained financial resources, after a small scrutiny it was finally concluded that his ill-gotten wealth was due to mishandling the Silk Road case. Another thing that gave him out is using fake ID documents to register with the Bitstamp virtual currency exchange platform, his application was rejected even though he claimed it was his “undercover identity”.

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Silk Road Judge Has Allowed Prosecutors Not To Disclose Their Witnesses

If you want to visit Silk Road 2.0 then you will want to know that it was shut down by the feds on 5th November 2014 and the alleged operator “Defcon” has been arrested. The best alternative is Agora Marketplace, it actually has more listings than Silk Road 2.0. Silk Road 3.0 is ALREADY live and there will be more info about it here soon.

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

Ross Ulbricht on CourtThe trial of alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht is scheduled to begin on Monday, January 5, 2015, but the judge presiding over the Silk Road case, New York district court judge Katherine Forrest has decided to allow the prosecutors not to disclose the identities of their witnesses until January 2, 2015, the Friday before the scheduled start of the trial.


Judge Katherine ForrestAccording to the explanation provided by Judge Forrest, her reason for not allowing the disclosure of the witnesses is due to the fact that Mr. Ulbricht could arrange to have them harmed or murdered before the trial, if their identities are revealed. The move was a response to a request filed by the prosecution to have the names of the witnesses redacted; they cited FBI reports that Mr. Ulbricht had paid to have six people murdered. One of the people Mr. Ulbricht allegedly paid to have murdered was a former Silk Road employee, and he allegedly contracted an undercover DEA agent to do the job, paying him $80,000.


Mr. Ulbricht’s defense attorneys argued against the request to withhold the names of the witnesses, because it would make it more difficult for them to prepare for the case, and also because he has been in jail with limited contact with the outside world since he was arrested, and he also doesn’t have access to email, so it would be nearly impossible to do anything to the witnesses because of those reasons.


In response to the defense’s objections, Judge Forrest wrote that despite being imprisoned with limited access to the outside world, Mr. Ulbricht could still find a way to get in touch with contacts on the outside, that could harm the witnesses, because there have been many cases in the past, with defendants in similar situation that have been able to find ways to intimidate or harm people that were going to testify against them.

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Silk Road’s “Forgotten Three”

>> Click here to find the Silk Road URL and know how to get to the Silk Road 2.0 <<

Ross UlbrichtFor most part of the case, fund raising efforts and headlines have concentrated on Ross Ulbricht. He’s considered the mastermind of the entire project, Dread Pirate Roberts. However, three other men have also been accused of illegal activities and conduct. Though they have been spending time outside the limelight, their role in the scenario can’t be overlooked.

In December 2013, three other arrests were made in three countries under the same law. Andrew Jones was arrested in the United States. He was accused of being the administrator, Inigo. Gary Davis was arrested in Ireland. He was accused of being administrator, Libertas. Peter Nash was arrested in Australia. He was accused of being moderator, SSBD.

Judge MalletOut of these 3 co-accused, only one has been in prison for the whole time. One has been placed under house arrest, and the other one is virtually a free man. However, their fates are still connected with the verdict against Ross Ulbricht in the Silk Road case.


Peter Nash

According to the indictment, SSBD was the lowest ranked in Silk Road. He only had a small role in moderating discussion forums. Upon his arrest, the United States requested Nash’s extradition.

Eventually, Peter Nash was remanded in a prison in Brisbane. Before his arrest, a local newspaper revealed that Nash had worked in a Prison before. Thus, he was placed in protective custody. According to reports, Nash was injured during a prison protest.

In June 2014, Peter Nash was extradited to the United States of America. Currently, he is remanded in a federal penitentiary located in New York. This means, he has already served 9 months awaiting his trial.

Andrew Jones

Jones has been accused of being Inigo at Silk Road. According to reports, Inigo was the longest serving administrator in Silk Road. Jones was released after submitting bail for $1 million. The money was raised by Jones’ retired parents through their retirement’s savings and home.

Currently, Jones has been placed under house arrest at his retired parents’ house. As per his bail terms and conditions, he can’t access any internet enabled devices while awaiting his trial. His next hearing has been scheduled for next month.

Andrew Jones’ fiancée and mother have even set up an online donation page to assist with various legal expenses. They welcome any legal and monetary assistance they can get in different forms.

Gary Davis

The United States also wanted to extradite Gary Davis. He was accused of being the administrator Libertas at Silk Road. However, the Irish authorities handled the matter quite differently from the ones in Australia.

On the night of his arrest, Gary Davis was released on a bail. The bail was granted for a nominal amount. Irish courts grant bail to someone slated for extradition quite similar to how they handle domestic cases, under certain conditions, i.e., if the accused won’t tamper with the witnesses, commit any further serious crimes or seems a flight risk.

It’s important to understand that Davis attends all the hearings as a free man. However, he has been relieved of his passport. Moreover, he also needs to report to the Irish Police regularly. Since his arrest, the Irish media hasn’t had much interest in the Silk Road case.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road URL and know how to get to the Silk Road 2.0 <<

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Documents Filed In Silk Road Case Seem to Solidify The Parallel Construction Theory

>> Click here to find the Silk Road URL and know how to get to the Silk Road 2.0 <<

Ross UlbrichtEver since the US government first claimed it found the Silkroad server using a “leaky CAPTCHA,” technical experts have raised doubts about whether this explanation is plausible. Attorneys for alleged Silroad mastermind Ross Ulbricht suggested that this was just a cover story, intended to hide the fact that the NSA found the Silkroad server rather than the FBI. They suggested the CAPTCHA story was an example of “parallel construction,” a law enforcement technique to conceal the true origin of evidence in criminal cases.

Technical documents recently filed by the FBI seem to solidify these theories. According to Brian Krebs (of Krebs on Security) and Robert Graham (of Errata Security) a close examination of these documents reveals that the FBI did something very different from what they originally claimed. Krebs quotes a researcher from Berkeley’s International Computer Science Institute pointing out a simple fact — where the FBI agents claim to have found the “leak” is not consistent with how the server was designed.

The Silkroad system was set up in a fairly complicated fashion. Silkroad had been set up with a split architecture, where traffic from the Tor network went to a front-end server. This server in turn made requests to a back-end server in Iceland. According to documents released by the government, the Icelandic Silkroad server (which is the one that was siezed) was designed so that it would refuse most types of requests from the larger iternet.

Silk Road site

According to Weaver’s analysis, the Silkroad server would not have replied with a portion of a CAPTCHA image as the FBI agents in the Silk Road case claimed. It is much more likely that the FBI accessed the Silkroad server’s IP address directly and was given a generic PHP/MyAdmin page.

It is important to note that there was a misconfiguration in one or both of the Silkroad servers that did allow access to PHP files from all over the internet, so it is plausible the FBI received some data back when they put in the IP address.

According to Robert Graham’s analysis, the PHP/MyAdmin explanation fits. Log entries where FBI Agent Christopher Tarbell accessed the Silkroad server showed him accessing the PHP/MyAdmin pages and not the Silkroad login page. Therefore they are not consistent with the FBI’s original explanation. Also, inconsistent with the server’s configuration, they produced a “200 OK” response code instead of the “401 UNAUTHORIZED” error which Graham would have expected to see — this suggests the FBI knew the password or the server configuration had somehow changed.

Graham concludes that the NSA as a missing link in the Silk Road case makes sense. With the Silkroad back-end server located in Iceland, the fact that the system did not use encrypted communications between the two servers means the NSA could easily have captured the password — the NSA is legally allowed (under US law) to monitor traffic between foreign countries, including Iceland.

With respect to the Silkroad front-end server in Germany (which is also known to be monitored by the NSA), while it would have returned a “forbidden” error if accessed outside TOR, it would not have done this when accessing PHP files. Graham suggests there were technical methods the FBI could have used to find this server, such as scanning the whole Internet for SSL servers and looking for the word “Silkroad” in the returned web page.

Graham notes that the original declaration by FBI Agent Tarbell was “gibberish” and so vague that nearly any explanation could fit — vague enough that an NSA agent showing up at the FBI office and typing in the Silkroad server’s IP address could fit within the scenario.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road URL and know how to get to the Silk Road 2.0 <<

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